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%eceived  fUsVtt  >  l9°0  . 

^Accession  No.  V Q  S~ O  Li    •   Class  No. 




ARTHUR  A.   MACDONELL,   M.  A.,   Ph.D. 





Authorized  Edition 




It  is  undoubtedly  a  surprising  fact  that  down  to  the  pre- 
sent time  no  history  of  Sanskrit  literature  as  a  whole 
has  been  written  in  English.  For  not  only  does  that 
literature  possess  much  intrinsic  merit,  but  the  light  it 
sheds  on  the  life  and  thought  of  the  population  of  our 
Indian  Empire  ought  to  have  a  peculiar  interest  for  the 
British  nation.  Owing  chiefly  to  the  lack  of  an  adequate 
account  of  the  subject,  few,  even  of  the  young  men 
who  leave  these  shores  every  year  to  be  its  future  rulers, 
possess  any  connected  information  about  the  litera- 
ture in  which  the  civilisation  of  Modern  India  can  be 
traced  to  its  sources,  and  without  which  that  civilisation 
cannot  be  fully  understood.  It  was,  therefore,  with  the 
greatest  pleasure  that  I  accepted  Mr.  Gosse's  invitation 
to  contribute  a  volume  to  this  series  of  Literatures  of 
the  World;  for  this  appeared  to  me  to  be  a  peculiarly 
good  opportunity  for  diffusing  information  on  a  subject 
in  which  more  than  twenty  years  of  continuous  study 
and  teaching  had  instilled  into  me  an  ever-deepening 

Professor  Max  Miiller's  valuable  History  of  Ancient 
Sanskrit  Literature  is  limited  in  its  scope  to  the  Vedic 
period.  It  has  long  been  out  of  print;  and  Vedic  re- 
search has  necessarily  made  great  strides  in  the  forty 
years  which  have  elapsed  since  its  publication. 

The  only  book  accessible  to  the  English  reader  on 


the  history  of  Sanskrit  literature  in  general  has  hitherto 
been  the  translation  of  Professor  Weber's  Academical 
Lectures  on  Indian  Literature,  as  delivered  nearly  half  a 
century  ago  at  Berlin.  The  numerous  and  often  very 
lengthy  notes  in  this  work  supply  the  results  of  research 
during  the  next  twenty-five  years  ;  but  as  these  notes  often 
modify,  or  even  cancel,  the  statements  of  the  unaltered 
original  text  of  1852,  the  result  is  bewildering  to  the 
student.  Much  new  light  has  been  thrown  on  various 
branches  of  Sanskrit  literature  since  1878,  when  the  last 
notes  were  added  to  this  translation,  which,  moreover,  is 
not  in  any  way  adapted  to  the  wants  of  the  general  reader. 
The  only  work  on  the  subject  appealing  to  the  latter  is  the 
late  Sir  M.  Monier-Williams's  Indian  Wisdom.  That  book, 
however,  although  it  furnishes,  in  addition  to  the  trans- 
lated specimens,  some  account  of  the  chief  departments 
of  Sanskrit  literature,  is  not  a  history.  There  is  thus 
distinctly  a  twofold  demand  in  this  country  for  a  history 
of  Sanskrit  literature.  The  student  is  in  want  of  a  guide 
setting  forth  in  a  clear  and  trustworthy  manner  the 
results  of  research  down  to  the  present  time,  and  the 
cultivated  English  reader  looks  for  a  book  presenting  in 
an  intelligible  and  attractive  form  information  which 
•must  have  a  special  interest  to  us  owing  to  our  close 
relations  with  India. 

To  lack  of  space,  no  less  than  to  the  scope  of  the 
present  series,  is  due  the  exclusion  of  a  full  account  of 
the  technical  literature  of  law,  science,  and  art,  which 
contains  much  that  would  interest  even  the  general 
reader  ;  but  the  brief  epitome  given  in  the  Appendix 
will,  I  hope,  suffice  to  direct  the  student  to  all  the  most 
important  authorities. 

As  to  the  bibliographical  notes,  I  trust  that,  though 


necessarily  restricted  in  extent,  they  will  enable  the 
student  to  find  all  further  information  he  may  want  on 
matters  of  detail ;  for  instance,  the  evidence  for  approxi- 
mate dates,  which  had  occasionally  to  be  summarily 
stated  even  in  the  text. 

In  writing  this  history  of  Sanskrit  literature,  I  have 
dwelt  more  on  the  life  and  thought  of  Ancient  India, 
which  that  literature  embodies,  than  would  perhaps  have 
appeared  necessary  in  the  case  of  a  European  literature. 
This  I  have  done  partly  because  Sanskrit  literature,  as 
representing  an  independent  civilisation  entirely  different 
from  that  of  the  West,  requires  more  explanation  than 
most  others  ;  and  partly  because,  owing  to  the  remark- 
able continuity  of  Indian  culture,  the  religious  and  social 
institutions  of  Modern  India  are  constantly  illustrated  by 
those  of  the  past. 

Besides  the  above-mentioned  works  of  Professors  Max 
Miiller  and  Weber,  I  have  made  considerable  use  of 
Professor  L.  von  Schroeder's  excellent  Indiens  Litera- 
tur  und  Cultur  (1887).  I  have  further  consulted  in  one 
way  or  another  nearly  all  the  books  and  monographs 
mentioned  in  the  bibliographical  notes.  Much  of  what 
I  have  written  is  also  based  on  my  own  studies  of  San- 
skrit literature. 

All  the  quotations  which  I  have  given  by  way  of  illus- 
tration I  have  myself  carefully  selected  from  the  original 
works.  Excepting  the  short  extracts  on  page  333  from 
Cowell  and  Thomas's  excellent  translation  of  the  Harsha- 
charita,  all  the  renderings  of  these  are  my  own.  In  my 
versions  of  Rigvedic  stanzas  I  have,  however,  occasionally 
borrowed  a  line  or  phrase  from  Griffith.  Nearly  all  my 
renderings  are  as  close  as  the  use  of  metre  permits.  I 
have  endeavoured  to  reproduce,  as  far  as  possible,  the 

viii  PREFACE 

measures  of  the  original,  except  in  the  quotations  from 
the  dramas,  where  I  have  always  employed  blank  verse. 
I  have  throughout  refrained  from  rhyme,  as  misrepre- 
senting the  original  Sanskrit. 

In  the  transliteration  of  Sanskrit  words  I  have  been 
guided  by  the  desire  to  avoid  the  use  of  letters  which 
might  mislead  those  who  do  not  know  Sanskrit.  I  have 
therefore  departed  in  a  few  particulars  from  the  system 
on  which  Sanskrit  scholars  are  now  almost  unanimously 
agreed,  and  which  I  otherwise  follow  myself.  Hence  for  c 
and  ch  I  have  written  ch  and  chh  respectively,  though  in  the 
rare  cases  where  these  two  appear  in  combination  I  have 
retained  cch  (instead  of  chckk).  I  further  use  sh  for  the 
lingual  s,  and  c  for  the  palatal  /,  and  ri  for  the  vowel  r. 
J  have  not  thought  it  necessary  to  distinguish  the  guttural 
h  and  the  palatal  ft  by  diacritical  marks,  simply  printing, 
for  instance,  anga  and  pancha.  The  reader  who  is  un- 
acquainted with  Sanskrit  will  thus  pronounce  all  words 
correctly  by  simply  treating  all  the  consonants  as  in 
English  ;  remembering  only  that  the  vowels  should  be 
sounded  as  in  Italian,  and  that  e  and  o  are  always  long. 

I  am  indebted  for  some  suggestions  to  my  friend  Mr. 
F.  C.  S.  Schiller,  Fellow  and  Tutor  of  Corpus  Christi 
College,  who  looked  through  the  final  proof  of  the 
chapter  on  Philosophy.  To  my  pupil  Mr.  A.  B.  Keith, 
Boden  Sanskrit  scholar  and  Classical  scholar  of  Balliol, 
who  has  read  all  the  final  proofs  with  great  care,  I  owe 
not  only  the  removal  of  a  number  of  errors  of  the  press, 
but  also  several  valuable  criticisms  regarding  matters 
of  fact. 

107  Banbury  Road,  Oxford, 
December  1,  1899. 



I.    INTRODUCTORY .           .  i 

II.   THE   VEDIC    PERIOD.            .            . 29 



V.    PHILOSOPHY   OF   THE   RIGVEDA          . Il6 

VI.   THE   RIGVEDIC  AGE \  .  .139 

VII.   THE   LATER   VEDAS  .            .                       . 171 

VIII.    THE   BRAHMANAS .           .           .  202 

IX.   THE   SUTRAS 2/ 

X.   THE   EPICS 277 

XI.    KAVYA   OR   COURT    EPIC    .           .' 318 





XVI.    SANSKRIT   LITERATURE   AND   THE   WEST             ....  408 










Since  the  Renaissance  there  has  been  no  event  of  such 
world-wide  significance  in  the  history  of  culture  as  the 
discovery  of  Sanskrit  literature  in  the  latter  part  of 
the  eighteenth  century.  After  Alexander's  invasion,  the 
Greeks  became  to  some  extent  acquainted  with  the 
learning  of  the  Indians ;  the  Arabs,  in  the  Middle  Ages, 
introduced  the  knowledge  of  Indian  science  to  the 
West ;  a  few  European  missionaries,  from  the  sixteenth 
century  onwards,  were  not  only  aware  of  the  existence 
of,  but  also  acquired  some  familiarity  with,  the  ancient 
language  of  India ;  and  Abraham  Roger  even  translated 
the  Sanskrit  poet  Bhartrihari  into  Dutch  as  early  as 
165 1.  Nevertheless,  till  about  a  hundred  and  twenty 
years  ago  there  was  no  authentic  information  in 
Europe  about  the  existence  of  Sanskrit  literature,  but 
only  vague  surmise,  finding  expression  in  stories  about 
the  wisdom  of  the  Indians.  The  enthusiasm  with  which 
Voltaire  in  his  Essai  sur  les  Mceurs  et  TEsprit  des 
Nations  greeted  the  lore  of  the  Ezour    Vedam,  a  work 


brought  from  India  and  introduced  to  his  notice  in 
the  middle  of  the  last  century,  was  premature.  For 
this  work  was  later  proved  to  be  a  forgery  made  in 
the  seventeenth  century  by  a  Jesuit  missionary.  The 
scepticism  justified  by  this  fabrication,  and  indulged  in 
when  the  discovery  of  the  genuine  Sanskrit  literature 
was  announced,  survived  far  into  the  present  century. 
Thus,  Dugald  Stewart,  the  philosopher,  wrote  an  essay 
in  which  he  endeavoured  to  prove  that  not  only 
Sanskrit  literature,  but  also  the  Sanskrit  language,  was 
a  forgery  made  by  the  crafty  Brahmans  on  the  model 
of  Greek  after  Alexander's  conquest.  Indeed,  this  view 
was  elaborately  defended  by  a  professor  at  Dublin  as 
late  as  the  year  1838. 

The  first  impulse  to  the  study  of  Sanskrit  was  given 
by  the  practical  administrative  needs  of  our  Indian 
possessions.  Warren  Hastings,  at  that  time  Governor- 
General,  clearly  seeing  the  advantage  of  ruling  the 
Hindus  as  far  as  possible  according  to  their  own  laws 
and  customs,  caused  a  number  of  Brahmans  to  prepare 
a  digest  based  on  the  best  ancient  Indian  legal  autho- 
rities. An  English  version  of  this  Sanskrit  compilation, 
made  through  the  medium  of  a  Persian  translation, 
was  published  in  1776.  The  introduction  to  this  work, 
besides  giving  specimens  of  the  Sanskrit  script,  for  the 
first  time  supplied  some  trustworthy  information  about 
the  ancient  Indian  language  and  literature.  The  earliest 
step,  however,  towards  making  Europe  acquainted  with 
actual  Sanskrit  writings  was  taken  by  Charles  Wilkins, 
who,  having,  at  the  instigation  of  Warren  Hastings, 
acquired  a  considerable  knowledge  of  Sanskrit  at 
Benares,  published  in  1785  a  translation  of  the  Bhaga- 
vad-gita,  or  The  Song  of  the  Adorable  One,  and  two  years 


later,  a  version  of  the  well-known  collection  of  fables 
entitled  Hitopadeca,  or  Friendly  Advice. 

Sir  William  Jones  (1746-94)  was,  however,  the 
pioneer  of  Sanskrit  studies  in  the  West.  It  was  this 
brilliant  and  many-sided  Orientalist  who,  during  his 
too  brief  career  of  eleven  years  in  India,  first  aroused 
a  keen  interest  in  the  study  of  Indian  antiquity  by  his 
unwearied  literary  activity  and  by  the  foundation  of  the 
Asiatic  Society  of  Bengal  in  1784.  Having  rapidly  ac- 
quired an  accurate  knowledge  of  Sanskrit,  he  published  in 
1789  a  translation  of  £akuntaldy  the  finest  Sanskrit  drama, 
which  was  greeted  with  enthusiasm  by  such  judges  as 
Herder  and  Goethe.  This  was  followed  by  a  trans- 
lation of  the  Code  of  Manuy  the  most  important  of  the 
Sanskrit  law-books.  To  Sir  William  Jones  also  belongs 
the  credit  of  having  been  the  first  man  who  ever  printed 
an  edition  of  a  Sanskrit  text.  This  was  a  short  lyrical 
poem  entitled  Ritusamhdra,  or  Cycle  of  the  Seasons,  pub- 
lished in  1792. 

We  next  come  to  the  great  name  of  Henry  Thomas 
Colebrooke  (1765-1837),  a  man  of  extraordinary  in- 
dustry, combined  with  rare  clearness  of  intellect  and 
sobriety  of  judgment.  The  first  to  handle  the  Sanskrit 
language  and  literature  on  scientific  principles,  he  pub- 
lished many  texts,  translations,  and  essays  dealing  with 
almost  every  branch  of  Sanskrit  learning,  thus  laying 
the  solid  foundations  on  which  later  scholars  have 

While  Colebrooke  was  beginning  his  literary  career 
in  India  during  the  opening  years  of  the  century,  the 
romance  of  war  led  to  the  practical  knowledge  of  Sans- 
krit being  introduced  on  the  Continent  of  Europe. 
Alexander  Hamilton  (1765-1824),  an  Englishman  who 


had  acquired  a  good  knowledge  of  Sanskrit  in  India, 
happened  to  be  passing  through  France  on  his  way  home 
in  1802.  Hostilities  breaking  out  afresh  just  then,  a 
decree  of  Napoleon,  directed  against  all  Englishmen  in 
the  country,  kept  Hamilton  a  prisoner  in  Paris.  Dur- 
ing his  long  involuntary  stay  in  that  city  he  taught  Sans- 
krit to  some  French  scholars,  and  especially  to  the 
•  German  romantic  poet  Friedrich  Schlegel.  One  of 
the  results  of  these  studies  was  the  publication  by 
Schlegel  of  his  work  On  the  Language  and  Wisdom  of 
the  Indians  (1808).  This  book  produced  nothing  less  than 
a  revolution  in  the  science  of  language  by  the  introduc- 
tion of  the  comparative  and  the  historical  method.  It 
led  to  the  foundation  of  the  science  of  comparative 
philology  by  Franz  Bopp  in  his  treatise  on  the  conjuga- 
tional  system  of  Sanskrit  in  comparison  with  that  of 
Greek,  Latin,  Persian,  and  German  (1816).  Schlegel's 
work,  moreover,  aroused  so  much  zeal  for  the  study  of 
Sanskrit  in  Germany,  that  the  vast  progress  made  since 
his  day  in  this  branch  of  learning  has  been  mainly  due  to 
the  labours  of  his  countrymen. 

In  the  early  days  of  Sanskrit  studies  Europeans 
became  acquainted  only  with  that  later  phase  of  the 
ancient  language  of  India  which  is  familiar  to  the  Pan- 
dits, and  is  commonly  called  Classical.  Sanskrit.  So  it 
came  about  that  the  literature  composed  in  this  dialect 
engaged  the  attention  of  scholars  almost  exclusively 
down  to  the  middle  of  the  century.  Colebrooke  had, 
it  is  true,  supplied  as  early  as  1805  valuable  information 
about  the  literature  of  the  older  period  in  his  essay  On 
the  Vedas.  Nearly  a  quarter  of  a  century  later,  F.  Rosen, 
a  German  scholar,  had  conceived  the  plan  of  making  this 
more  ancient  literature  known  to  Europe  from  the  rich 


collection  of  manuscripts  at  the  East  India  House ;  and 
his  edition  of  the  first  eighth  of  the  Rigveda  was  actually 
brought  out  in  1838,  shortly  after  his  premature  death. 
But  it  was  not  till  Rudolf  Roth  (1821-95),  the  founder 
of  Vedic  philology,  published  his  epoch-making  little 
book  On  the  Literature  and  History  of  the^Veda  in  1846, 
that  the  studies  of  Sankritists  received  a  lasting  impulse 
in  the  direction  of  the  earlier  and  more  important  litera- 
ture of  the  Veda^.  These  studies  have  since  been  pro- 
secuted with  such  zeal,  that  nearly  all  the  most  valu- 
able works  of  the  Vedic,  as  well  as  the  later  period, 
have  within  the  last  fifty  years  been  made  accessible  in 
thoroughly  trustworthy  editions. 

In  judging  of  the  magnitude  of  the  work  thus  accom- 
plished, it  should  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  workers 
have  been  far  fewer  in  this  than  in  other  analogous  fields, 
while  the  literature  of  the  Vedas  at  least  equals  in  extent 
what  survives  of  the  writings  of  ancient  Greece.  Thus 
in  the  course  of  a  century  the  whole  range  of  Sanskrit 
literature,  which  in  quantity  exceeds  that  of  Greece  and 
Rome  put  together,  has  been  explored.  The  great  bulk 
of  it  has  been  edited,  and  most  of  its  valuable  productions 
have  been  translated,  by  competent  hands.  There  has 
long  been  at  the  service  of  scholars  a  Sanskrit  dictionary, 
larger  and  more  scientific  than  any  either  of  the  classi- 
cal languages  yet  possesses.  The  detailed  investigations 
in  every  department  of  Sanskrit  literature  are  now  so 
numerous,  that  a  comprehensive  work  embodying  the 
results  of  all  these  researches  has  become  a  necessity. 
An  encyclopaedia  covering  the  whole  domain  of  Indo- 
Aryan  antiquity  has  accordingly  been  planned  on  a  more 
extensive  scale  than  that  of  any  similar  undertaking,  and 
is  now  being  published  at  Strasburg  in  parts,  contributed 


to  by  about  thirty  specialists  of  various  nationalities.  By 
the  tragic  death,  in  April  1898,  of  its  eminent  editor, 
Professor  Buhler  of  Vienna,  Sanskrit  scholarship  has 
sustained  an  irreparable  loss.  The  work  begun  by 
him  is  being  completed  by  another  veiy  distinguished 
Indianist,  Professor  Kielhorn  of  Gottingen. 

Although  so  much  of  Sanskrit  literature  has  already 
been  published,  an  examination  of  the  catalogues  of 
Sanskrit  manuscripts,  of  which  an  enormous  number  are 
preserved  in  European  and  Indian  libraries,  proves 
that  there  are  still  many  minor  works  awaiting,  and 
likely  to  repay,  the  labours  of  an  editor. 

The  study  of  Sanskrit  literature  deserves  far  more 
attention  than  it  has  yet  received  in  this  country.  For 
in  that  ancient  heritage  the  languages,  the  religious  and 
intellectual  life  and  thought,  in  short,  the  whole  civilisa- 
tion of  the  Hindus,  who  form  the  vast  majority  of  the 
inhabitants  of  our  Indian  Empire,  have  their  roots. 
Among  all  the  ancient  literatures,  that  of  India  is,  more- 
over, undoubtedly  in  intrinsic  value  and  aesthetic  merit 
second  Ulllji  lu  ttpat  uf  Glt'Lue*  To  the  latter  it  is,  as  a 
source  for  the  study  of  human  evolution,  even  superior. 
Its  earliest  period,  being  much  older  than  any  product  of 
Greek  literature,  presents  a  more  primitive  form  of  belief, 
and  therefore  gives  a  clearer  picture  of  the  development 
of  religious  ideas  than  any  other  literary  monument  of 
the  world.  Hence  it  came  about  that,  just  as  the  dis- 
covery of  the  Sanskrit  language  led  to  the  foundation  of 
the  science  of  Comparative  Philology,  an  acquaintance 
with  the  literature  of  the  Vedas  resulted  in  the  foundation 
of  the  science  of  Comparative  Mythology  by  Adalbert 
Kuhn  and  Max  Muller. 

Though   it   has  touched   excellence   in   most  of   its 


branches,  Sanskrit  literature  has  mainly  achieved  great- 
ness in  religion  and  philosophy.  The  Indians  are  the 
only  division  of  the  Indo-European  family  which  has 
created  a  great  national  religion — Brahmanism — and  a 
great  world-religion — Buddhism ;  while  all  the  rest,  far 
from  displaying  originality  in  this  sphere,  have  long  since  ^f^k . 
adopted  a  foreign  faith.  The  intellectual  life  of  the 
Indians  has,  in  fact,  all  along  been  more  dominated  by 
religious  thought  than  that  of  any  other  race.  The 
Indians,  moreover,  developed  independently  several 
systems  of  philosophy  which  bear  evidence  of  high 
speculative  powers.  The  great  interest,  however,  which 
these  two  subjects  must  have  for  us  lies,  not  so  much  in 
the  results  they  attained,  as  in  the  fact  that  every  step  in 
the  evolution  of  religion  and  philosophy  can  be  traced  in 
Sanskrit  literature. 

The  importance  of  ancient  Indian  literature  as  a 
whole  largely  consists  in  its  originality.  Naturally 
isolated  by  its  gigantic  mountain  barrier  in  the  north, 
the  Indian  peninsula  has  ever  since  the  Aryan  invasion 
formed  a  world  apart,  over  which  a  unique  form  of 
Aryan  civilisation  rapidly  spread,  and  has  ever  since 
prevailed.  When  the  Greeks,  towards  the  end  of  the  y~ 
fourth  century  B.C.,  invaded  the  North-West,  the  Indians 
had  already  fully  worked  out  a  national  culture  of  their 
own,  unaffected  by  foreign  influences.  And,  in  spite  of 
successive  waves  of  invasion  and  conquest  by  Persians, 
Greeks,  Scythians,  Muhammadans,  the  national  develop- 
ment of  the  life  and  literature  of  the  Indo-Aryan  race 
remained  practically  unchecked  and  unmodified  from 
without  down  to  the  era  of  British  occupation.  No 
other  branch  of  the  Indo-European  stock  has  experienced 
an  isolated  evolution  like  this.     No  other  country  except 




China  can  trace  back  its  language  and  literature,  its  reli- 
gious beliefs  and  rites,  its  domestic  and  social  customs, 
through  an  uninterrupted  development  of  more  than 
three  thousand  years.  JLj^C^uu^- 

A  few  examples  will  serve  to  illustrate  this  remark- 
able continuity  in  Indian  civilisation.  Sanskrit  is  still 
spoken  as  the  tongue  of  the  learned  by  thousands  of 
Brahmans,  as  it  was  centuries  before  our  era.  Nor  has 
it  ceased  to  be  used  for  literary  purposes,  for  many 
books  and  journals  written  in  the  ancient  language  are 
still  produced.  The  copying  of  Sanskrit  manuscripts 
is  still  continued  in  hundreds  of  libraries  in  India,  unin- 
terrupted even  by  the  introduction  of  printing  during 
the  present  century.  The  Vedas  are  still  learnt  by 
heart  as  they  were  long  before  the  invasion  of  Alex- 
ander, and  could  even  now  be  restored  from  the  lips  of 
religious  teachers  if  every  manuscript  or  printed  copy 
of  them  were  destroyed.  A  Vedic  stanza  of  immemorial 
antiquity,  addressed  to  the  sun-god  Savitri,  is  still  recited 
in  the  daily  worship  of  the  Hindus.  The  god  Vishnu, 
adored  more  than  3000  years  ago,  has  countless  votaries 
in  India  at  the  present  day.  Fire  is  still  produced  for 
sacrificial  purposes  by  means  of  two  sticks,  as  it  was  in 
ages  even  more  remote.  The  wedding  ceremony  of  the 
modern  Hindu,  to  single  out  but  one  social  custom,  is 
essentially  the  same  as  it  was  long  before  the  Christian 

The  history  of  ancient  Indian  literature  naturally 
falls  into  two  main  periods.  The  first  is  the  Vedic,  which 
beginning  perhaps  as  early  as  1500  B.C.,  extends  in  its 
latest  phase  to  about  200  B.C.  In  the  former  half  of  the 
Vedic  age  the  character  of  its  literature  was  creative  and 
poetical,  while  the  centre  of  culture  lay  in  the  territory 


of  the  Indus  and  its  tributaries,  the  modern  Panjab ;  in 
the  latter  half,  literature  was  theologically  speculative  in 
matter  and  prosaic  in  form,  while  the  centre  of  intellec- 
tual life  had  shifted  to  the  valley  of  the  Ganges.  Thus 
in  the  course  of  the  Vedic  age  Aryan  civilisation  had 
overspread  the  whole  of  Hindustan  Proper,  the  vast  tract 
extending  from  the  mouths  of  the  Indus  to  those  of  the 
Ganges,  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  Himalaya,  and  on 
the  south  by  the  Vindhya  range.  The  second  period,  con- 
current with  the  final  offshoots  of  Vedic  literature  and 
closing  with  the  Muhammadan  conquest  after  1000  A.D., 
is  the  Sanskrit  period  strictly  speaking.  In  a  certain 
sense,  owing  to  the  continued  literary  use  of  Sanskrit, 
mainly  for  the  composition  of  commentaries,  this  period 
may  be  regarded  as  coming  down  to  the  present  day. 
During  this  second  epoch  Brahmanic  culture  was  intro- 
duced into  and  overspread  the  southern  portion  of  the 
continent  called  the  Dekhan  or  "the  South."  In  the 
course  of  these  two  periods  taken  together,  Indian 
literature  attained  noteworthy  results  in  nearly  every 
department.  The  Vedic  age,  which,  unlike  the  earlier 
epoch  of  Greece,  produced  only  religious  works,  reached 
a  high  standard  of  merit  in  lyric  poetry,  and  later  made 
some  advance  towards  the  formation  of  a  prose  style. 

The  Sanskrit  period  .embracing  in  general  secular 
subjects,  achieved  distinction  in  many  branches  of  litera- 
ture, in  national  as  well  as  court  epic,  in  lyric  and 
especially  didactic  poetry,  in  the  drama,  in  fairy  tales, 
fables,  and  romances.  Everywhere  we  find  much  true 
poetry,  the  beauty  of  which  is,  however,  marred  by 
obscurity  of  style  and  the  ever-increasing  taint  of  artifi- 
ciality. But  this  period  produced  few  works  which, 
regarded    as   a  whole,   are    dominated    by   a    sense   of 


harmony  and  proportion.  Such  considerations  have  had 
little  influence  on  the  aesthetic  notions  of  India.  The 
tendency  has  been  rather  towards  exaggeration,  mani- 
festing itself  in  all  directions.  The  almost  incredible 
development  of  detail  in  ritual  observance  ;  the  extra- 
ordinary excesses  of  asceticism  ;  the  grotesque  represen- 
tations of  mythology  in  art ;  the  frequent  employment 
of  vast  numbers  in  description  ;  the  immense  bulk  of  the 
epics ;  the  unparalleled  conciseness  of  one  of  the  forms 
of  prose  ;  the  huge  compounds  habitually  employed  in 
the  later  style,  are  among  the  more  striking  manifesta- 
tions of  this  defect  of  the  Indian  mind. 

In  various  branches  of  scientific  literature,  in  phone- 
tics, grammar,  mathematics,  astronomy,  medicine,  and 
law,  the  Indians  also  achieved  notable  results.  In  some 
of  these  subjects  their  attainments  are,  indeed,  far  in 
advance  of  what  was  accomplished  by  the  Greeks. 

History  is  the  one  weak  spot  in  Indian  literature.  It 
is,  in  fact,  non-existent.  The  total  lack  of  the  historical 
sense  is  so  characteristic,  that  the  whole  course  of 
Sanskrit  literature  is  darkened  by  the  shadow  of  this 
defect,  suffering  as  it  does  from  an  entire  absence  of 
exact  chronology.  So  true  is  this,  that  the  very  date 
of  Kalidasa,  the  greatest  of  Indian  poets,  was  long  a 
matter  of  controversy  within  the  limits  of  a  thousand 
years,  and  is  even  now  doubtful  to  the  extent  of  a  century 
or  two.  Thus  the  dates  of  Sanskrit  authors  are  in  the 
vast  majority  of  cases  only  known  approximately,  having 
been  inferred  from  the  indirect  evidence  of  interdepen- 
dence, quotation  or  allusion,  development  of  language  or 
style.  As  to  the  events  of  their  lives,  we  usually  know 
nothing  at  all,  and  only  in  a  few  cases  one  or  two 
general   facts.     Two   causes  seem  to  have  combined  to 


bring  about  this  remarkable  result.  In  the  first  place, 
early  India  wrote  no  history  because  it  never  made  any. 
The  ancient  Indians  never  went  through  a  struggle  for 
life,  like  the  Greeks  in  the  Persian  and  the  Romans  in  the 
Punic  wars,  such  as  would  have  welded  their  tribes  into 
a  nation  and  developed  political  greatness.  Secondly, 
the  Brahmans,  whose  task  it  would  naturally  have  been 
to  record  great  deeds,  had  early  embraced  the  doctrine 
that  all  action  and  existence  are  a  positive  evil,  and  could 
therefore  have  felt  but  little  inclination  to  chronicle  his- 
torical events. 

Such  being  the  case,  definite  dates  do  not  begin  to 
appear  in  Indian  literary  history  till  about  500  A.D,  The 
chronology  of  the  Vedic  period  is  altogether  conjectural, 
being  based  entirely  on  internal  evidence.  Three  main 
literary  strata  can  be  clearly  distinguished  in  it  by  dif- 
ferences in  language  and  style,  as  well  as  in  religious 
and  social  views.  For  the  development  of  each  of  these 
strata  a  reasonable  length  of  time  must  be  allowed  ;  but 
all  we  can  here  hope  to  do  is  to  approximate  to  the 
truth  by  centuries.  The  lower  limit  of  the  second  Vedic 
stratum  cannot,  however,  be  fixed  later  that  500  B.C., 
because  its  latest  doctrines  are  presupposed  by  Buddhism, 
and  the  date  of  the  death  of  Buddha  has  been  with  a 
high  degree  of  probability  calculated,  from  the  recorded 
dates  of  the  various  Buddhist  councils,  to  be  480  B.C. 
With  regard  to  the  commencement  of  the  Vedic  age, 
there  seems  to  have  been  a  decided  tendency  among 
Sanskrit  scholars  to  place  it  too  high.  2000  B.C.  is 
commonly  represented  as  its  starting-point.  Supposing 
this  to  be  correct,  the  truly  vast  period  of  1500  years  is 
required  to  account  for  a  development  of  language  and 
thought  hardly  greater  than  that  between  the  Homeric 



and  the  Attic  age  of  Greece.  Professor  Max  Muller's 
earlier  estimate  of  1200  B.C.,  formed  forty  years  ago, 
appears  to  be  much  nearer  the  mark.  A  lapse  of  three 
centuries,  say  from  1 300-1000  B.C.,  would  amply  account 
for  the  difference  between  what  is  oldest  and  newest  in 
Vedic  hymn  poetry.  Considering  that  the  affinity  of  the 
oldest  form  of  the  Avestan  language  with  the  dialect  of 
the  Vedas  is  already  so  great  that,  by  the  mere  applica- 
tion of  phonetic  laws,  whole  Avestan  stanzas  may  be 
translated  word  for  word  into  Vedic,  so  as  to  produce 
verses  correct  not  only  in  form  but  in  poetic  spirit ;  con- 
sidering further,  that  if  we  knew  the  Avestan  language  at 
as  early  a  stage  as  we  know  the  Vedic,  the  former  would 
necessarily  be  almost  identical  with  the  latter,  it  is  im- 
possible to  avoid  the  conclusion  that  the  Indian  branch 
must  have  separated  from  the  Iranian  only  a  very 
short  time  before  the  beginnings  of  Vedic  literature,  and 
can  therefore  have  hardly  entered  the  North-West  of 
India  even  as  early  as  1500  B.C.  All  previous  estimates 
of  the  antiquity  of  the  Vedic  period  have  been  outdone 
by  the  recent  theory  of  Professor  Jacobi  of  Bonn,  who 
supposes  that  period  goes  back  to  at  least  4000  B.C.  This 
theory  is  based  on  astronomical  calculations  connected 
with  a  change  in  the  beginning  of  the  seasons,  which 
Professor  Jacobi  thinks  has  taken  place  since  the  time 
of  the  Rigveda,  The  whole  estimate  is,  however,  in- 
validated by  the  assumption  of  a  doubtful,  and  even 
improbable,  meaning  in  a  Vedic  word,  which  forms  the 
very  starting-point  of  the  theory.  Meanwhile  we  must 
rest  content  with  the  certainty  that  Vedic  literature  in 
any  case  is  of  considerably  higher  antiquity  than  that 
of  Greece. 

For  the  post- Vedic  period  we  have,  in  addition  to  the 


results  of  internal  evidence,  a  few  landmarks  of  general 
chronological  importance  in  the  visits  of  foreigners.  The 
earliest  date  of  this  kind  is  that  of  the  invasion  of  India 
by  Alexander  in  326  B.C.  This  was  followed  by  the 
sojourn  in  India  of  various  Greeks,  of  whom  the  most 
notable  was  Megasthenes.  He  resided  for  some  years 
about  300  B.C.  at  the  court  of  Pataliputra  (the  modern 
Patna),  and  has  left  a  valuable  though  fragmentary 
account  of  the  contemporary  state  of  Indian  society. 
Many  centuries  later  India  was  visited  by  three  Chinese 
Buddhist  pilgrims,  Fa  Hi  an  (399  A.D.),  HiOUEN  Thsang 
(630-645),  and  I  Tsing  (671-695).  The  records  of  their 
travels,  which  have  been  preserved,  and  are  all  now  trans- 
lated  into  English,  shed  much  light  on  the  social  con- 
ditions, the  religious  thought,  and  the  Buddhist  antiquities 
of  India  in  their  day.  Some  general  and  specific  facts 
about  Indian  literature  also  can  be  gathered  from  them. 
Hiouen  Thsang  especially  supplies  some  important  state- 
ments about  contemporary  Sanskrit  poets.  It  is  not  till 
his  time  that  we  can  say  of  any  Sanskrit  writer  that  he 
was  alive  in  any  particular  year,  excepting  only  the  three 
Indian  astronomers,  whose  exact  dates  in  the  fifth  and 
sixth  centuries  have  been  recorded  by  themslves.  It  was 
only  the  information  supplied  by  the  two  earlier  Chinese 
writers  that  made  possible  the  greatest  archaeological 
discovery  of  the  present  century  in  India,  that  of  the 
site  of  Buddha's  birthplace,  Kapila-vastu,  identified  in  v 
December  1896.  At  the  close  of  our  period  we  have  the 
very  valuable  account  of  the  country  at  the  time  of  the 
Muhammadan  conquest  by  the  Arabic  author  AlberunT, 
who  wrote  his  India  in  1030  A.D. 

It  is  evident  from  what  has  been  said,  that  before. 
500  A.D.  literary  chronology,  even  in  the  Sanskrit  period, 


is  almost  entirely  relative,  priority  or  posteriority  being 
determined  by  such  criteria  as  development  of  style  or 
thought,  the  mention  of  earlier  authors  by  name,  stray 
political  references  as  to  the  Greeks  or  to  some  well- 
known  dynasty,  and  allusions  to  astronomical  facts  which 
cannot  have  been  known  before  a  certain  epoch.  Recent 
research,  owing  to  increased  specialisation,  has  made 
considerable  progress  towards  greater  chronological  de- 
finiteness.  More  light  will  doubtless  in  course  of  time 
come  from  the  political  history  of  early  India,  which 
is  being  reconstructed,  with  great  industry  and  ability, 
by  various  distinguished  scholars  from  the  evidence  of 
coins,  copper-plate  grants,  and  rock  or  pillar  inscrip- 
tions. These  have  been  or  are  being  published  in  the 
Corpus  Inscriptionum  Indicarumy  the  Epigraphia  Indica, 
and  various  journals  devoted  to  the  study  of  Indian 
antiquities.  The  rise  in  the  study  of  epigraphy  during 
the  last  twenty  years  has,  indeed,  already  yielded  some 
direct  information  of  importance  about  the  literary  and 
religious  history  of  India,  by  fixing  the  date  of  some 
of  the  later  poets  as  well  as  by  throwing  light  on 
religious  systems  and  whole  classes  of  literature.  Thus 
some  metrical  inscriptions  of  considerable  length  have 
been  deciphered,  which  prove  the  existence  of  court 
poetry  in  Sanskrit  and  vernacular  dialects  from  the  first 
century  of  our  era  onwards.  No  direct  evidence  of  this 
fact  had  previously  been  known. 

The  older  inscriptions  are  also  important  in  con- 
nection with  Sanskrit  literature  as  illustrating  both  the 
early  history  of  Indian  writing  and  the  state  of  the 
language  at  the  time.  The  oldest  of  them  are  the  rock 
and  pillar  inscriptions,  dating  from  the  middle  of  the 
third  century  B.C.,  of  the  great  Buddhist  king  AgOKA, 


who  ruled  over  Northern  India  from  259  to  222  B.C., 
and  during  whose  reign  was  held  the  third  Buddhist 
council,  at  which  the  canon  of  the  Buddhist  scriptures 
was  probably  fixed.  The  importance  of  these  inscrip- 
tions can  hardly  be  over-rated  for  the  value  of  the  in- 
formation to  be  derived  from  them  about  the  political, 
religious,  and  linguistic  conditions  of  the  age.  Found 
scattered  all  over  India,  from  Girnar  (Giri-nagara)  in 
Kathiawar  to  Dhauli  in  Orissa,  from  Kapur-di-Giri,  north 
of  the  Kabul  river,  to  Khalsi,  they  have  been  reproduced, 
deciphered,  and  translated.  One  of  them,  engraved  on 
a  pillar  erected  by  Acoka  to  commemorate  the  actual 
birthplace  of  Buddha,  was  discovered  only  at  the  close 
of  1896. 

These  Acoka  inscriptions  are  the  earliest  records 
of  Indian  writing.  The  question  of  the  origin  and  age 
of  writing  in  India,  long  involved  in  doubt  and  contro- 
versy, has  been  greatly  cleared  up  by  the  recent  palaeo- 
graphical  researches  of  Professor  Buhler.  That  great 
scholar  has  shown,  that  of  the  two  kinds  of  script  known 
in  ancient  India,  the  one  called  Kharoshthi,  employed 
in  the  country  of  Gandhara  (Eastern  Afghanistan  and 
Northern  Panjab)  from  the  fourth  century  B.C.  to 
200  A.D.,  was  borrowed  from  the  Aramaic  type  of 
Semitic  writing  in  use  during  the  fifth  century  B.C.  It 
was  always  written  from  right  to  left,  like  its  original. 
The  other  ancient  Indian  script,  called  Brdhmiy  is,  as 
Buhler  shows,  the  true  national  writing  of  India,  because 
all  later  Indian  alphabets  are  descended  from  it,  however 
dissimilar  many  of  them  may  appear  at  the  present  day. 
It  was  regularly  written  from  left  to  right ;  but  that  this 
was  not  its  original  direction  is  indicated  by  a  coin  of 
the  fourth  century  B.C.,  the  inscription  on  which  runs 


from  right  to  left.  Dr.  Buhler  has  shown  that  this 
writing  is  based  on  the  oldest  Northern  Semitic  or 
Phoenician  type,  represented  on  Assyrian  weights  and 
on  the  Moabite  stone,  which  dates  from  about  890  B.C. 
He  argues,  with  much  probability,  that  it  was  introduced 
about  800  B.C.  into  India  by  traders  coming  by  way  of 

References  to  writing  in  ancient  Indian  literature  are, 
it  is  true,  very  rare  and  late  ;  in  no  case,  perhaps,  earlier 
than  the  fourth  century  B.C.,  or  not  very  long  before  the 
date  of  the  Acoka  inscriptions.  Little  weight,  however, 
can  be  attached  to  the  argumentum  ex  silentio  in  this 
instance.  For  though  writing  has  now  been  extensively 
in  use  for  an  immense  period,  the  native  learning  of  the 
modern  Indian  is  still  based  on  oral  tradition.  The 
sacred  scriptures  as  well  as  the  sciences  can  only  be 
acquired  from  the  lips  of  a  teacher,  not  from  a  manu- 
script ;  and  as  only  memorial  knowledge  is  accounted 
of  value,  writing  and  MSS.  are  rarely  mentioned.  Even 
modern  poets  do  not  wish  to  be  read,  but  cherish  the 
hope  that  their  works  may  be  recited.  This  immemorial 
practice,  indeed,  shows  that  the  beginnings  of  Indian 
poetry  and  science  go  back  to  a  time  when  writing  was 
unknown,  and  a  system  of  oral  tradition,  such  as  is 
referred  to  in  the  Rigveda,  was  developed  before  writing 
was  introduced.  The  latter  could,  therefore,  have  been 
in  use  long  before  it  began  to  be  mentioned.  The  palaeo- 
graphical  evidence  of  the  Acoka  inscriptions,  in  any  case, 
clearly  shows  that  writing  was  no  recent  invention  in  the 
third  century  B.C.,  for  most  of  the  letters  have  several, 
often  very  divergent  forms,  sometimes  as  many  as  nine 
or  ten.  A  considerable  length  of  time  was,  moreover, 
needed    to    elaborate-  from    the   twenty-two    borrowed 


Semitic  symbols  the  full  Brdhml  alphabet  of  forty-six 
letters.  This  complete  alphabet,  which  was  evidently 
worked  out  by  learned  Brahmans  on  phonetic  principles, 
must  have  existed  by  500  B.C.,  according  to  the  strong 
arguments  adduced  by  Professor  Buhler.  This  is  the 
alphabet  which  is  recognised  in  Panini's  great  Sanskrit 
grammar  of  about  the  fourth  century  B.C.,  and  has  re- 
mained unmodified  ever  since.  It  not  only  represents  all 
the  sounds  of  the  Sanskrit  language,  but  is  arranged  on  a 
thoroughly  scientific  method,  the  simple  vowels  (short 
and  long)  coming  first,  then  the  diphthongs,  and  lastly 
the  consonants  in  uniform  groups  according  to  the 
organs  of  speech  with  which  they  are  pronounced.  Thus 
the  dental  consonants  appear  together  as  t,  t/i,  d,  dh,  ny 
and  the  labials  as/, ph,  b,  bh}  m.  We  Europeans,  on  the 
other  hand,  2500  years  later,  and  in  a  scientific  age,  still 
employ  an  alphabet  which  is  not  only  inadequate  to 
represent  all  the  sounds  of  our  languages,  but  even  pre- 
serves the  random  order  in  which  vowels  and  consonants 
are  jumbled  up  as  they  were  in  the  Greek  adaptation  ol 
the  primitive  Semitic  arrangement  of  3000  years  ago. 

In  the  inscriptions  of  the  third  century  B.C.  two  types, 
the  Northern  and  the  Southern,  may  be  distinguished  in 
the  Brdhml  writing.  From  the  former  is  descended  the 
group  of  Northern  scripts  which  gradually  prevailed  in 
all  the  Aryan  dialects  of  India.  The  most  important  of 
them  is  the  Ndgarl  (also  called  Devandgari),  in  which 
Sanskrit  MSS.  are  usually  written,  and  Sanskrit  as  well  as 
Marathi  and  Hind!  books  are  regularly  printed.  It  is 
recognisable  by  the  characteristic  horizontal  line  at  the 
top  of  the  letters.  The  oldest  inscription  engraved  en- 
tirely in  Ndgarl  belongs  to  the  eighth,  and  the  oldest  MS. 
written  in  it  to  the  eleventh  century.     From  the  Southern 


variety  of  the  Brdhml  writing  are  descended  five  types  of 
script,  all  in  use  south  of  the  Vindhya  range.  Among 
them  are  the  characters  employed  in  the  Canarese  and 
the  Telugu  country. 

Owing  to  the  perishability  of  the  material  on  which 
they  are  written,  Sanskrit  MSS.  older  than  the  fourteenth 
century  A.D.  are  rare.  The  two  ancient  materials  used 
in  India  were  strips  of  birch  bark  and  palm  leaves.  The 
employment  of  the  former,  beginning  in  the  North-West 
of  India,  where  extensive  birch  forests  clothe  the  slopes 
of  the  Himalaya,  gradually  spread  to  Central,  Eastern, 
and  Western  India.  The  oldest  known  Sanskrit  MS. 
written  on  birch  bark  dates  from  the  fifth  century  A.D., 
and  a  Pali  MS.  in  Kharoshthi,  which  became  known  in 
1897,  is  still  older,  but  the  use  of  this  material  doubtless 
goes  back  to  far  earlier  days.  Thus  we  have  the  state- 
ment of  Quintus  Curtius  that  the  Indians  employed  it  for 
writing  on  at  the  time  of  Alexander.  The  testimony  of 
classical  Sanskrit  authors,  as  well  as  of  AlberunI,  shows 
that  leaves  of  birch  bark  {bhurja-pattrd)  were  also  regularly 
used  for  letter-writing  in  early  mediaeval  India. 

The  first  example  of  a  palm  leaf  Sanskrit  MS.  belongs 
to  the  sixth  century  A.D.  It  is  preserved  in  Japan,  but 
there  is  a  facsimile  of  it  in  the  Bodleian  Library.  Accord- 
ing to  the  Chinese  pilgrim  Hiouen  Thsang,  the  use  of  the 
palm  leaf  was  common  all  over  India  in  the  seventh  cen- 
tury ;  but  that  it  was  known  many  centuries  earlier  is 
proved  by  the  fact  that  an  inscribed  copper-plate,  dating 
from  the  first  century  A.D.  at  the  latest,  imitates  a  palm 
leaf  in  shape. 

Paper  was  introduced  by  the  Muhammadan  conquest, 
and  has  been  very  extensively  used  since  that  time  for 
the  writing  of  MSS.     The  oldest  known  example  of  a 


paper  Sanskrit  MS.  written  in  India  is  one  from  Gujarat, 
belonging  to  the  early  part  of  the  thirteenth  century.  In 
Northern  India,  where  ink  was  employed  for  writing, 
palm  leaves  went  out  of  use  after  the  introduction  of 
paper.  But  in  the  South,  where  a  stilus  has  always  been 
employed  for  scratching  in  the  character,  palm  leaves 
are  still  common  for  writing  both  MSS.  and  letters.  The 
birch  bark  and  palm  leaf  MSS.  are  held  together  by  a 
cord  drawn  through  a  single  hole  in  the  middle,  or 
through  two  placed  some  distance  apart.  This  explains 
how  the  Sanskrit  word  for  "  knot,"  grantha,  came  to 
acquire  the  sense  of  "book." 

Leather  or  parchment  has  never  been  utilised  in 
India  for  MSS.,  owing  to  the  ritual  impurity  of  animal 
materials.  For  inscriptions  copper-plates  were  early 
and  frequently  employed.  They  regularly  imitate  the 
shape  of  either  palm  leaves  or  strips  of  birch  bark. 

The  actual  use  of  ink  (the  oldest  Indian  name  of 
which  is  mashi)  is  proved  for  the  second  century  B.C.  by 
an  inscription  from  a  Buddhist  relic  mound,  and  is 
rendered  very  probable  for  the  fourth  century  B.C.  by 
the  statements  of  Nearchos  and  Quintus  Curtius. 

All  the  old  palm  leaf,  birch  bark,  and  paper  Sanskrit 
MSS.  have  been  written  with  ink  and  a  reed  pen,  usually 
called  kalama  (a  term  borrowed  from  the  Greek  kalamos). 
In  Southern  India,  on  the  other  hand,  it  has  always  been 
the  practice  to  scratch  the  writing  on  palm  leaves  with  a 
stilus,  the  characters  being  subsequently  blackened  by 
soot  or  charcoal  being  rubbed  into  them. 

Sanskrit  MSS.  of  every  kind  are  usually  kept  between 
thin  strips  of  wood  with  cords  wound  round  them, 
and  wrapped  up  in  coloured,  sometimes  embroidered, 
cloths.     They  have  been,  and  still  are,  preserved  in  the 


libraries  of  temples,  monasteries,  colleges,  the  courts  of 
princes,  as  well  as  private  houses.  A  famous  library  was 
owned  by  King  Bhoja  of  Dhar  in  the  eleventh  century. 
That  considerable  private  libraries  existed  in  fairly  early 
times  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  the  Sanskrit  author  Bana 
(about  620  A.D.)  had  in  his  employment  a  reader  of 
manuscripts.  Even  at  the  present  day  there  are  many 
excellent  libraries  of  Sanskrit  MSS.  in  the  possession  of 
Brahmans  all  over  India. 

The  ancient  Indian  language,  like  the  literature  com- 
posed in  it,  falls  into  the  two  main  divisions  of  Vedic  and 
Sanskrit.  The  former  differs  from  the  latter  on  the 
whole  about  as  much  as  Homeric  from  classical  Greek, 
or  the  Latin  of  the  Salic  hymns  from  that  of  Varro. 
Within  the  Vedic  language,  in  which  the  sacred  literature 
of  India  is  written,  several  stages  can  be  distinguished. 
In  its  transitions  from  one  to  the  other  it  gradually  grows 
more  modern  till  it  is  ultimately  merged  in  Sanskrit. 
Even  in  its  earliest  phase  Vedic  cannot  be  regarded  as 
a  popular  tongue,  but  is  rather  an  artificially  archaic 
dialect,  handed  down  from  one  generation  to  the  other 
within  the  class  of  priestly  singers.  Of  this  the  language 
itself  supplies  several  indications.  One  of  them  is  the 
employment  side  by  side  of  forms  belonging  to  different 
linguistic  periods,  a  practice  in  which,  however,  the  Vedic 
does  not  go  so  far  as  the  Homeric  dialect.  The  spoken 
language  of  the  Vedic  priests  probably  differed  from  this 
dialect  of  the  hymns  only  in  the  absence  of  poetical  con- 
structions and  archaisms.  There  was,  in  fact,  even  in  the 
earlier  Vedic  age,  a  caste  language,  such  as  is  to  be  found 
more  or  less  wherever  a  literature  has  grown  up  ;  but  in 
India  it  has  been  more  strongly  marked  than  in  any  other 


If,  however,  Vedic  was  no  longer  a  natural  tongue, 
but  was  already  the  scholastic  dialect  of  a  class,  how 
much  truer  is  this  of  the  language  of  the  later  litera- 
ture !  Sanskrit  differs  from  Vedic,  but  not  in  conformity 
with  the  natural  development  which  appears  in  living 
languages.  The  phonetic  condition  of  Sanskrit  remains 
almost  exactly  the  same  as  that  of  the  earliest  Vedic. 
In  the  matter  of  grammatical  forms,  too,  the  language 
shows  itself  to  be  almost  stationary  ;  for  hardly  any 
new  formations  or  inflexions  have  made  their  appear- 
ance. Yet  even  from  a  grammatical  point  of  view  the 
later  language  has  become  very  different  from  the 
earlier.  This  change  was  therefore  brought  about,  not 
by  new  creations,  but  by  successive  losses.  The  most 
notable  of  these  were  the  disappearance  of  the  sub- 
junctive mood  and  the  reduction  of  a  dozen  infinitives 
to  a  single  one.  In  declension  the  change  consisted 
chiefly  in  the  dropping  of  a  number  of  synonymous  by- 
forms.  It  is  probable  that  the  spoken  Vedic,  more 
modern  and  less  complex  than  that  of  the  hymns,  to 
some  extent  affected  the  later  literary  language  in  the 
direction  of  simplification.  But  the  changes  in  the 
language  were  mainly  due  to  the  regulating  efforts  of 
the  grammarians,  which  were  more  powerful  in  India 
than  anywhere  else,  owing  to  the  early  and  exceptional 
development  of  grammatical  studies  in  that  country. 
Their  influence  alone  can  explain  the  elaborate  nature 
of  the  phonetic  combinations  (called  Sandhi)  between 
the  finals  and  initials  of  words  in  the  Sanskrit  sentence. 

It  is,  however,  the  vocabulary  of  the  language  that 
has  undergone  the  greatest  modifications,  as  is  indeed 
the  case  in  all  literary  dialects ;  for  it  is  beyond  the 
power  of  grammarians  to  control  change  in  this  direc- 


tion.  Thus  we  find  that  the  vocabulary  has  been  greatly 
extended  by  derivation  and  composition  according  to 
recognised  types.  At  the  same  time  there  are  numerous 
words  which,  though  old,  seem  to  be  new  only  because 
they  happen  by  accident  not  to  occur  in  the  Vedic 
literature.  Many  really  new  words  have,  however,  come 
in  through  continual  borrowings  from  a  lower  stratum 
of  language,  while  already  existing  words  have  under- 
gone great  changes  of  meaning. 

This  later  phase  of  the  ancient  language  of  India 
was  stereotyped  by  the  great  grammarian  Panini  to- 
wards the  end  of  the  fourth  century  B.C.  It  came  to 
be  called  Sanskrit,  the  "  refined  "  or  "  elaborate  "  (sam- 
skri-tay  literally  "put  together"),  a  term  not  found  in 
the  older  grammarians,  but  occurring  in  the  earliest 
epic,  the  Rdmdyana.  The  name  is  meant  to  be  opposed 
to  that  of  the  popular  dialects  called  Prdkrita,  and  is 
so  opposed,  for  instance,  in  the  Kdvyddarca,  or  Mirror 
of  Poetry ',  a  work  of  the  sixth  century  A.D.  The  older 
grammarians  themselves,  from  Yaska  (fifth  century  B.C.) 
onwards,  speak  of  this  classical  dialect  as  Bhdshd,  "the 
speech,"  in  distinction  from  Vedic.  The  remarks  they 
make  about  it  point  to  a  spoken  language.  Thus  one 
of  them,  Patanjali,  refers  to  it  as  used  "  in  the  world," 
and  designates  the  words  of  his  Sanskrit  as  "  current 
in  the  world."  Panini  himself  gives  many  rules  which 
have  no  significance  except  in  connection  with  living 
speech  ;  as  when  he  describes  the  accent  or  the  lengthen- 
ing of  vowels  in  calling  from  a  distance,  in  salutation, 
or  in  question  and  answer.  Again,  Sanskrit  cannot 
have  been  a  mere  literary  and  school  language,  because 
there  are  early  traces  of  its  having  had  dialectic  varia- 
tions.    Thus  Yaska  and  Panini  mention  the  peculiarities 


of  the  "Easterns"  and  "Northerners,"  Katyayana  re- 
fers to  local  divergences,  and  Patanjali  specifies  words 
occurring  in  single  districts  only.  There  is,  indeed,  no 
doubt  that  in  the  second  century  B.C.  Sanskrit  was 
actually  spoken  in  the  whole  country  called  by  Sanskrit 
writers  Aryavarta,  or  "  Land  of  the  Aryans,"  which  lies 
between  the  Himalaya  and  the  Vindhya  range.  But 
who  spoke  it  there  ?  Brahmans  certainly  did ;  for 
Patanjali  speaks  of  them  as  the  "instructed"  (gishta), 
the  employers  of  correct  speech.  Its  use,  however,  ex- 
tended beyond  the  Brahmans ;  for  we  read  in  Patanjali 
about  a  head-groom  disputing  with  a  grammarian  as 
to  the  etymology  of  the  Sanskrit  word  for  "charioteer" 
(suta).  This  agrees  with  the  distribution  of  the  dialects 
in  the  Indian  drama,  a  distribution  doubtless  based  on 
a  tradition  much  older  than  the  plays  themselves.  Here 
the  king  and  those  of  superior  rank  speak  Sanskrit, 
while  the  various  forms  of  the  popular  dialect  are 
assigned  to  women  and  to  men  of  the  people.  The 
dramas  also  show  that  whoever  did  not  speak  Sanskrit 
at  any  rate  understood  it,  for  Sanskrit  is  there  employed 
in  conversation  with  speakers  of  Prakrit.  The  theatri- 
cal public,  and  that  before  which,  as  we  know  from 
frequent  references  in  the  literature,  the  epics  were 
recited,  must  also  have  understood  Sanskrit.  Thus, 
though  classical  Sanskrit  was  from  the  beginning  a 
literary  and,  in  a  sense,  an  artificial  dialect,  it  would 
be  erroneous  to  deny  to  it  altogether  the  character  of 
a  colloquial  language.  It  is  indeed,  as  has  already  been 
mentioned,  even  now  actually  spoken  in  India  by 
learned  Brahmans,  as  well  as  written  by  them,  for 
every-day  purposes.  The  position  of  Sanskrit,  in  short, 
has  all  along  been,  and  still  is,  much  like  that  of 


Hebrew  among  the  Jews  or  of  Latin  in  the  Middle 

Whoever  was  familiar  with  Sanskrit  at  the  same  time 
spoke  one  popular  language  or  more.  The  question  as 
to  what  these  popular  languages  were  brings  us  to  the 
relation  of  Sanskrit  to  the  vernaculars  of  India.  The 
linguistic  importance  of  the  ancient  literary  speech  for 
the  India  of  to-day  wTill  become  apparent  when  it  is 
pointed  out  that  all  the  modern  dialects — excepting  those 
of  a  few  isolated  aboriginal  hill  tribes — spoken  over  the 
whole  vast  territory  between  the  mouths  of  the  Indus 
and  those  of  the  Ganges,  between  the  Himalaya  and  the 
Vindhya  range,  besides  the  Bombay  Presidency  as  far 
south  as  the  Portuguese  settlement  of  Goa,  are  descended 
from  the  oldest  form  of  Sanskrit.  Starting  from  their 
ancient  source  in  the  north-west,  they  have  overflowed 
in  more  and  more  diverging  streams  the  whole  peninsula 
except  the  extreme  south-east.  The  beginnings  of  these 
popular  dialects  go  back  to  a  period  of  great  antiquity. 
Even  at  the  time  when  the  Vedic  hymns  were  com- 
posed, there  must  have  existed  a  popular  language  which 
already  differed  widely  in  its  phonetic  aspect  from  the 
literary  dialect.  For  the  Vedic  hymns  contain  several 
words  of  a  phonetic  type  which  can  only  be  explained 
by  borrowings  on  the  part  of  their  composers  from 
popular  speech. 

We  further  know  that  in  the  sixth  century  B.C.,  Buddha 
preached  his  gospel  in  the  language  of  the  people,  as 
opposed  to  that  of  the  learned,  in  order  that  all  might 
understand  him.  Thus  all  the  oldest  Buddhist  literature 
dating  from  the  fourth  or  fifth  century  B.C.  was  composed 
in  the  vernacular,  originally  doubtless  in  the  dialect  of 
Magadha  (the  modern  Behar),  the  birthplace   of  Bud- 


dhism.  Like  Italian,  as  compared  with  Latin,  this  early 
popular  speech  is  characterised  by  the  avoidance  of 
conjunct  consonants  and  by  fondness  for  final  vowels. 
Thus  the  Sanskrit  sutra,  "  thread/'  and  d/iarma,  M  duty," 
become  sutta  and  dhamma  respectively,  while  vidyut, 
"  lightning,"  is  transformed  into  vijju.  The  particular 
form  of  the  popular  language  which  became  the  sacred 
idiom  of  Southern  Buddhism  is  known  by  the  name  of 
Pali.  Its  original  home  is  still  uncertain,  but  its  existence 
as  early  as  the  third  century  B.C.  is  proved  beyond  the 
range  of  doubt  by  the  numerous  rock  and  pillar  inscrip- 
tions of  Acoka.  This  dialect  was  in  the  third  century 
B.C.  introduced  into  Ceylon,  and  became  the  basis  of 
Singhalese,  the  modern  language  of  the  island.  It  was 
through  the  influence  of  Buddhism  that,  from  Agoka's 
time  onwards,  the  official  decrees  and  documents  pre- 
served in  inscriptions  were  for  centuries  composed 
exclusively  in  Middle  Indian  (Prakrit)  dialects.  Sanskrit 
was  not  familiar  to  the  chanceries  during  these  centuries, 
though  the  introduction  of  Sanskrit  verses  in  Prakrit 
inscriptions  shows  that  Sanskrit  was  alive  during  this 
period,  and  proves  its  continuity  for  literary  purposes. 
The  older  tradition  of  both  the  Buddhist  and  the  Jain 
religion,  in  fact,  ignored  Sanskrit  entirely,  using  only  the 
popular  dialects  for  all  purposes. 

But  in  course  of  time  both  the  Buddhists  and  the 
Jains  endeavoured  to  acquire  a  knowledge  of  Sanskrit. 
This  led  to  the  formation  of  an  idiom  which,  being  in  the 
main  Prakrit,  was  made  to  resemble  the  old  language  by 
receiving  Sanskrit  endings  and  undergoing  other  adapta- 
tions. It  is  therefore  decidedly  wrong  to  consider  this 
artificial  dialect  an  intermediate  stage  between  Sans- 
krit and  Pali.     This  peculiar  type  of  language  is  most 


pronounced  in  the  poetical  pieces  called  gathd  or 
"song,"  which  occur  in  the  canonical  works  of  the  Nor- 
thern Buddhists,  especially  in  the  Lalzta-vistara,  a  life 
of  Buddha.  Hence  it  was  formerly  called  the  Gatha 
dialect.  The  term  is,  however,  inaccurate,  as  Bud- 
dhist prose  works  have  also  been  written  in  this  mixed 

The  testimony  of  the  inscriptions  is  instructive  in 
showing  the  gradual  encroachment  of  Sanskrit  on  the 
popular  dialects  used  by  the  two  non-Brahmanical  reli- 
gions. Thus  in  the  Jain  inscriptions  of  Mathura  (now 
Muttra),  an  almost  pure  Prakrit  prevails  down  to  the  first 
century  A.D.  After  that  Sanskritisms  become  more  and 
more  frequent,  till  at  last  simple  Sanskrit  is  written. 
Similarly  in  Buddhist  inscriptions  pure  Prakrit  is  relieved 
by  the  mixed  dialect,  the  latter  by  Sanskrit.  Thus  in  the 
inscriptions  of  Nasik,  in  Western  India,  the  mixed  dialect 
extends  into  the  third,  while  Sanskrit  first  begins  in  the 
second  century  A.D.  From  the  sixth  century  onwards 
Sanskrit  prevails  exclusively  (except  among  the  Jains)  in 
inscriptions,  though  Prakritisms  often  occur  in  them. 
Even  in  the  literature  of  Buddhism  the  mixed  dialect 
was  gradually  supplanted  by  Sanskrit.  Hence  most  of 
the  Northern  Buddhist  texts  have  come  down  to  us  in 
Sanskrit,  which,  however,  diverges  widely  in  vocabulary 
from  that  of  the  sacred  texts  of  the  Brahmans,  as  well  as 
from  that  of  the  classical  literature,  since  they  are  full  of 
Prakrit  words.  It  is  expressly  attested  by  the  Chinese 
pilgrim,  Hiouen  Thsang,  that  in  the  seventh  century  the 
Buddhists  used  Sanskrit  even  in  oral  theological  discus- 
sions. The  Jains  finally  did  the  same,  though  without 
entirely  giving  up  Prakrit.  Thus  by  the  time  of  the 
Muhammadan   conquest  Sanskrit  was  almost  the  only 


written  language  of  India.  But  while  Sanskrit  was  re- 
covering its  ancient  supremacy,  the  Prakrits  had  exer- 
cised a  lasting  influence  upon  it  in  two  respects.  They 
had  supplied  its  vocabulary  with  a  number  of  new  words, 
and  had  transformed  into  a  stress  accent  the  old  musical 
accent  which  still  prevailed  after  the  days  of  Panini. 

In  the  oldest  period  of  Prakrit,  that  of  the  Pali  A$oka 
inscriptions  and  the  early  Buddhistic  and  Jain  literature, 
two  main  dialects,  the  Western  and  the  Eastern,  may  be 
distinguished.  Between  the  beginning  of  our  era  and 
about  1000  A.D.,  mediaeval  Prakrit,  which  is  still  synthetic 
in  character,  is  divided  into  four  chief  dialects.  In  the 
west  we  find  Apabhrain^a  ("  decadent ")  in  the  valley  of 
the  Indus,  and  £aurasenl  in  the  Doab,  with  Mathura  as 
its  centre.  Subdivisions  of  the  latter  were  Gaurjarl 
(Gujaratt),  Avanti  (Western  Rajputdni),  and  Mahdrdshtrl 
(Eastern  Rdjputdnt).  The  Eastern  Prakrit  now  appears 
as  Mdgadhl,  the  dialect  of  Magadha,  now  Behar,  and 
Ardha-  Mdgadhl  (Half  -  Magadhi),  with  Benares  as  its 
centre.  These  mediaeval  Prakrits  are  important  in  con- 
nection with  Sanskrit  literature,  as  they  are  the  verna- 
culars employed  by  the  uneducated  classes  in  the  Sans- 
krit drama. 

They  are  the  sources  of  all  the  Aryan  languages  of 
modern  India.  From  the  Apabhramqa  are  derived  Sindhl, 
Western  Panjabl}  and  Kashmiri;  from  £aurasenl  come 
Eastern  Pa?ijabl  and  Hindi  (the  old  Avanti) ,  as  well  as 
Gujaratl ;  while  from  the  two  forms  of  Mdgadhl  are 
descended  Mardthl  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  various 
dialects  of  Bengal  on  the  other.  These  modern  vernacu- 
lars, which  began  to  develop  from  about  1000  A.D.,  are 
no  longer  inflexional  languages,  but  are  analytical  like 
English,  forming  an  interesting  parallel  in  their  develop- 


ment  from  ancient  Sanskrit  to  the  Romance  dialects  in 
their  derivation  from  Latin.  They  have  developed  litera- 
tures of  their  own,  which  are  based  entirely  on  that  of 
Sanskrit.  The  non-Aryan  languages  of  the  Dekhan,  the 
Dravidian  group,  including  Telugu,  Canarese,  Malaya- 
lam,  and  Tamil,  have  not  indeed  been  ousted  by  Aryan 
tongues,  but  they  are  full  of  words  borrowed  from  San- 
skrit, while  their  literature  is  dominated  by  Sanskrit 



On  the  very  threshold  of  Indian  literature  more  than 
three  thousand  years  ago,  we  are  confronted  with  a  body 
of  lyrical  poetry  which,  although  far  older  than  the  lite- 
rary monuments  of  any  other  branch  of  the  Indo-Euro- 
pean family,  is  already  distinguished  by  refinement  and 
beauty  of  thought,  as  well  as  by  skill  in  the  handling  of 
language  and  metre.  From  this  point,  for  a  period  of 
more  than  a  thousand  years,  Indian  literature  bears__ 
^smj^ygjiisively  religions  sfonrpj.  even  those  latest  produc- 
tions of  the  Vedic  age  which  cannot  be  called  directly 
religious  are  yet  meant  to  further  religious  ends.  This 
is,  indeed,  implied  by  the  term  u  Vedic."  For  veda, 
primarily  signifying  "  knowledge  "  (from  vidy  "  to  know  "), 
designates  "  sacred  lore,"  as  a  branch  of  literature.  Be- 
sides this  general  sense,  the  word  has  also  the  restric- 
ted meaning  of  "sacred  book." 

In  the  Vedic  period  three  well-defined  literary  strata 
are  to  be  distinguished.  The  first  is  that  of  the  four  ■* 
Vedas,  the  outcome  of  a  creative  and  poetic  age,  in 
which  hymns  and  prayers  were  composed  chiefly  to 
accompany  the  pressing  and  offering  of  the  Soma  juice 
or  the  oblation  of  melted  butter  (ghrita)  to  the  gods.  The 
four  Vedas  are  "  collections,"  called  samhitd,  of  hymns 
and  prayers  made  for  different  ritual  purposes.  They 
are  of  varying  age  and  significance.     By  far  the  most 


important  as  well  as  the  oldest — for  it  is  the  very  founda- 
tion of  all  Vedic  literature — is  the  Rigveda,  the  "Veda 
of  verses"  (from  rich,  "a  laudatory  stanza"),  consisting 
entirely  of  lyrics,  mainly  in  praise  of  different  gods.  It 
may,  therefore,  be  described  as  the  book  of  hymns  or 
psalms.  The  Sama-veda  has  practically  no  independent 
value,  for  it  consists  entirely  of  stanzas  (excepting  only 
75)  taken  from  the  Rigveda  and  arranged  solely  with  refer- 
ence to  their  place  in  the  Soma  sacrifice.  Being  meant 
to  be  sung  to  certain  fixed  melodies,  it  may  be  called  the 
book  of  chants  {saman).  The  Yajur-veda  differs  in  one 
essential  respect  from  the  Sama-veda.  It  consists  not 
only  of  stanzas  {rich),  mostly  borrowed  from  the  Rigveda, 
but  also  of  original  prose  formulas.  It  resembles  the 
Sama-veda,  however,  in  having  its  contents  arranged  in 
the  order  in  which  it  was  actually  employed  in  various 
sacrifices.  It  is,  therefore,  a  book  of  sacrificial  prayers 
(yajus).  The  matter  of  this  Veda  has  been  handed  down 
in  two  forms.  In  the  one,  the  sacrificial  formulas  only 
are  given  ;  in  the  other,  these  are  to  a  certain  extent 
intermingled  with  their  explanations.  These  three  Vedas 
alone  were  at  first  recognised  as  canonical  scriptures, 
being  in  the  next  stage  of  Vedic  literature  comprehen- 
sively spoken  of  as  "the  threefold  knowledge"  {trayi 

The  fourth  collection,  the  Atharva-veda,  attained  to 
this  position  only  after  a  long  struggle.  Judged  both 
by  its  language  and  by  that  portion  of  its  matter  which  is 
analogous  to  the  contents  of  the  Rigveda,  the  Atharva- 
veda  came  into  existence  considerably  later  than  that 
Veda.  In  form  it  is  similar  to  the  Rigveda,  consisting 
for  the  most  part  of  metrical  hymns,  many  of  which  are 
taken  from  the  last  book  of  the  older  collection.     In 


spirit,  however,  it  is  not  only  entirely  different  from  the 
Rigveda,  but  represents  a  much  more  primitive  stage  of 
thought.  While  the  Rigveda  deals  almost  exclusively 
with  the  higher  gods  as  conceived  by  a  comparatively 
advanced  and  refined  sacerdotal  class,  the  Atharva-veda 
is,  in  the  main,  a  book  of  spells  and  incantations  appeal- 
ing to  the  demon  world,  and  teems  with  notions  about 
witchcraft  current  among  the  lower  grades  of  the  popu- 
lation, and  derived  from  an  immemorial  antiquity. 
These  two,  thus  complementary  to  each  other  in  con- 
tents, are  obviously  the  most  important  of  the  four  Vedas. 
As  representing  religious  ideas  at  an  earlier  stage  than 
any  other  literary  monuments  of  the  ancient  world,  they 
are  of  inestimable  value  to  those  who  study  the  evolution 
of  religious  beliefs. 

The  creative  period  of  the  Vedas  at  length  came 
to  an  end.  It  was  followed  by  an  epoch  in  which  there 
no  longer  seemed  any  need  to  offer  up  new  prayers  to 
the  gods,  but  it  appeared  more  meritorious  to  repeat 
those  made  by  the  holy  seers  of  bygone  generations, 
and  handed  down  from  father  to  son  in  various  priestly 
families.  The  old  hymns  thus  came  to  be  successively 
gathered  together  in  the  Vedic  collections  already  men- 
tioned, and  in  this  form  acquired  an  ever-increasing 
sanctity.  Having  ceased_to_pxoduce  poetry^ the  priest- 
hood transferredjheir  creative  energies  to  the_elaboration 

of  the  sacrificial  ceremonial. The  result  was  a   ritual 

system  far  surpassing  in  complexity  of  detail  anything 
the  world  has  elsewhere  known.  The  main  importance 
of  the  old  Vedic  hymns  and  formulas  now  came  to 
be  their  application  to  the  innumerable  details  of  the 
sacrifice.  Around  this  combination  of  sacred  verse  and 
rite  a  new  body  of  doctrine  grew  up  in  sacerdotal  tradi- 



tion,  and  finally  assumed  definite  shape  in  the  guise  of 
distinct  theological  treatises  entitled  Brahmanas,  "  books 
dealing  with  devotion  or  prayer  "  (brahman).  They  evi- 
dently did  not  come  into  being  till  a  time  when  the 
hymns  were  already  deemed  ancient  and  sacred  revela- 
tions, the  priestly  custodians  of  which  no  longer  fully 
understood  their  meaning  owing  to  the  change  undergone 
by  the  language.  They  are  written  in  prose  throughout, 
and  are  in  some  cases  accented,  like  the  Vedas  them- 
selves. They  are  thus  notable  as  representing  the  oldest 
prose  writing  of  the  Indo-European  family.  Their  style 
is,  indeed,  cumbrous,  rambling,  and  disjointed,  but  dis- 
tinct progress  towards  greater  facility  is  observable 
within  this  literary  period. 

The  chief  purpose  of  the  Brahmanas  is  to  explain  the 
mutual  relation  of  the  sacred  text  and  the  ceremonial, 
as  well  as  their  symbolical  meaning  with  reference 
to  each  other.  With  the  exception  of  the  occasional 
legends  and  striking  thoughts  which  occur  in  them, 
they  cannot  be  said  to  be  at  all  attractive  as  literary 
productions.  To  support  their  explanations  of  the 
ceremonial,  they  interweave  exegetical,  linguistic,  and 
etymological  observations,  and  introduce  myths  and  philo- 
sophical speculations  in  confirmation  of  their  cosmogonic 
and  theosophic  theories.  They  form  an  aggregate  of 
shallow  and  pedantic  discussions,  full  of  sacerdotal  con- 
ceits, and  fanciful,  or  even  absurd,  identifications,  such 
as  is  doubtless  unparalleled  anywhere  else.  Yet,  as  the 
oldest  treatises  on  ritual  practices  extant  in  any  literature, 
they  are  of  great  interest  to  the  student  of  the  history 
of  religions  in  general,  besides  furnishing  much  im- 
portant material  to  the  student  of  Indian  antiquity  in 


It  results  from  what  has  been  said  that  the  contrasts 
between  the  two  older  phases  of  Vedic  literature  are 
strongly  marked.  The  Vedas  are  poetical  in  matter  and 
form ;  the  Brahmanas  are  prosaic  and  written  in  prose. 
The  thought  of  the  Vedas  is  on  the  whole  natural  and 
concrete  ;  that  of  the  Brahmanas  artificial  and  abstract. 
The  chief  significance  of  the  Vedas  lies  in  their  mytho; 
logy  ;  that  of  the  Brahmanas  in  their  ritual. 

The  subject-matter  of  the  Brahmanas  which  are 
attached  to  the  various  Vedas,  differs  according  to  the 
divergent  duties  performed  by  the  kind  of  priest  con- 
nected with  each  Veda.  The  Brahmanas  of  the  Rigveda, 
in  explaining  the  ritual,  usually  limit  themselves  to  the 
duties  of  the  priest  called  hotri  or  "  reciter,"  on  whom 
it  was  incumbent  to  form  the  canon  (castra)  for  each 
particular  rite,  by  selecting  from  the  hymns  the  verses 
applicable  to  it.  The  Brahmanas  of  the  Sdma-veda  are 
concerned  only  with  the  duties  of  the  udgatriox  "chanter" 
of  the  Samans ;  the  Brahmanas  of  the  Yajur-veda  with 
those  of  the  adhvaryu,  or  the  priest  who  is  the  actual 
sacrificer.  Again,  the  Brahmanas  of  the  Rigveda  more 
or  less  follow  the  order  of  the  ritual,  quite  irrespectively 
of  the  succession  of  the  hymns  in  the  Veda  itself.  The 
Brahmanas  of  the  Sdma-  and  the  Yajur-veda,  on  the 
other  hand,  follow  the  order  of  their  respective  Vedas, 
which  are  already  arranged  in  the  ritual  sequence.  The 
Brahmana  of  the  Sdma-veda,  however,  rarely  explains 
individual  verses,  while  that  of  the  Yajur-veda  practically 
forms  a  running  commentary  on  all  the  verses  of  the 

The  period  of  the  Brahmanas  is  a  very  important 
one  in  the  history  of  Indian  society.  For  in  it  the 
system  of  the  four  castes  assumed  definite  shape,  fur- 



nishing  the  frame  within  which  the  highly  complex 
network  of  the  castes  of  to-day  has  been  developed. 
In  that  system  the  priesthood,  who  even  in  the  first 
Vedic  period  had  occupied  an  influential  position,  secured 
for  themselves  the  dominant  power  which  they  have 
maintained  ever  since.  The  life  of  no  other  people  has 
been  so  saturated  with  sacerdotal  influence  as  that  of  the 
Hindus,  among  whom  sacred  learning  is  still  the  mono- 
poly of  the  hereditary  priestly  caste.  While  in  other 
early  societies  the  chief  power  remained  in  the  hands  of 
princes  and  warrior  nobles,  the  domination  of  the  priest- 
hood became  possible  in  India  as  soon  as  the  energetic 
life  of  conquest  during  the  early  Vedic  times  in  the 
north-west  was  followed  by  a  period  of  physical  in- 
activity or  indolence  in  the  plains.  Such  altered  con- 
ditions enabled  the  cultured  class,  who  alone  held  the 
secret  of  the  all-powerful  sacrifice,  to  gain  the  supremacy 
of  intellect  over  physical  force. 

The  Brahmanas  in  course  of  time  themselves  ac- 
quired a  sacred  character,  and  came  in  the  following 
period  to  be  classed  along  with  the  hymns  as  qruti  or 
"hearing,"  that  which  was  directly  heard  by  or,  as  we 
should  say,  revealed  to,  the  holy  sages  of  old.  In  the 
sphere  of  revelation  are  included  the  later  portions  of 
the  Brahmanas,  which  form  treatises  of  a  specially 
theosophic  character,  and  being  meant  to  be  imparted  or 
studied  in  the  solitude  of  the  forest,  are  called  Aranyakas 
or  "  Forest-books."  The  final  part  of  these,  again,  are 
philosophical  books  named  Upanishads,  which  belong 
to  the  latest  stage  of  Brahmana  literature.  The  pan- 
theistic groundwork  of  their  doctrine  was  later  developed 
into  the  Vedanta  system,  which  is  still  the  favourite 
philosophy  of  the  modern  Hindus. 


Works  of  Vedic  "  revelation  "  were  deemed  of  higher 
authority  in  cases  of  doubt  than  the  later  works  on 
religious  and  oivil  usage,  called  smriti  or  "  memory," 
as  embodying  only  the  tradition  derived  from  ancient 

We  have  now  arrived  at  the  third  and  last  stage  ot 
Vedic  literature,  that  of  the  Sutras.  These  are  com- 
pendious treatises  dealing  with  Vedic  ritual  on  the  one 
hand,  and  with  customary  law  on  the  other.  The  rise  of 
this  class  of  writings  was  due  to  the  need  of  reducing 
the  vast  and  growing  mass  of  details  in  ritual  and 
custom,  preserved  in  the  Brahmanas  and  in  floating 
tradition,  to  a  systematic  shape,  and  of  compressing 
them  within  a  compass  which  did  not  impose  too  great 
a  burden  on  the  memory,  the  vehicle  of  all  teaching  and 
learning.  The  main  object  of  the  Sutras  is,  therefore, 
to  supply  a  short  survey  of  the  sum  of  these  scattered 
details.  They  are  not  concerned  with  the  interpretation 
of  ceremonial  or  custom,  but  aim  at  giving  a  plain 
and   methodical   account   of  The   whole   course   of   the 

rites  or  practices  with  which  they  deal.  For  this  pur- 
pose the  utmost  brevity  was  needed,  a  requirement 
which  was  certainly  met  in  a  manner  unparalleled  else- 
where. The  very  name  of  this  class  of  literature,  stitray 
" thread"  or  "clue"  (from  sivy  "to  sew"),  points  to  its 
main  characteristic  and  chief  object — extreme  con- 
ciseness. The  prose  in  which  these  works  are  composed 
is  so  compressed  that  the  wording  of  the  most  laconic 
telegram  would  often  appear  diffuse  compared  with  it. 
Some  of  the  Sutras  attain  to  an  almost  algebraic  mode 
of  expression,  the  formulas  of  which  cannot  be  under- 
stood without  the  help  of  detailed  commentaries.  A 
characteristic    aphorism    has    been    preserved,     which 


illustrates  this  straining  after  brevity.  According  to  it, 
the  composers  of  grammatical  Sutras  delight  as  much 
in  the  saving  of  a  short  vowel  as  in  the  birth  of  a 
son.  The  full  force  of  this  remark  can  only  be  under- 
stood when  it  is  remembered  that  a  Brahman  is  deemed 
incapable  of  gaining  heaven  without  a  son  to  perform 
his  funeral  rites. 

Though  the  works  comprised  in  each  class  of  Sutras 
are  essentially  the  same  in  character,  it  is  natural  to 
suppose  that  their  composition  extended  over  some 
length  of  time,  and  that  those  which  are  more  concise 
and  precise  in  their  wording  are  the  more  recent ;  for 
the  evolution  of  their  style  is  obviously  in  the  direction 
of  increased  succinctness.  Research,  it  is  true,  has 
hitherto  failed  to  arrive  at  any  definite  result  as  to  the 
date  of  their  composition.  Linguistic  investigations, 
however,  tend  to  show  that  the  Sutras  are  closely 
connected  in  time  with  the  grammarian  Panini,  some 
of  them  appearing  to  be  considerably  anterior  to  him. 
We  shall,  therefore,  probably  not  go  very  far  wrong 
in  assigning  500  and  200  B.C.  as  the  chronological  limits 
within  which  the  Sutra  literature  was  developed. 

The  tradition  of  the  Vedic  ritual  was  handed  down  in 
two  forms.  The  one  class,  called  Qrauta  Siltrasy  because 
based  on  qruti  or  revelation  (by  which  in  this  case  the 
Brahmanas  are  chiefly  meant),  deal  with  the  ritual  of  the 
greater  sacrifices,  for  the  performance  of  which  three  or 
more  sacred  fires,  as  well  as  the  ministrations  of  priests, 
are  necessary.  Not  one  of  them  presents  a  complete 
picture  of  the  sacrifice,  because  each  of  them,  like  the 
Brahmanas,  describes  only  the  duties  of  one  or  other 
of  the  three  kinds  of  priests  attached  to  the  respective 
Vedas.     In  order  to  obtain    a  full  description   of   each 


ritual  ceremony,  it  is  therefore  needful  to  supplement 
the  account  given  by  one  frauta  Sutra  from  that 
furnished  by  the  rest. 

The  other  division  of  the  ritual  Sutras  is  based  on 
smriti  or  tradition.  These  are  the  Grihya  Sutras,  or 
"  House  Aphorisms,"  which  deal  with  the  household 
ceremonies,  or  the  rites  to  be  performed  with  the 
domestic  fire  in  daily  life.  As  a  rule,  these  rites  are  not 
performed  by  a  priest,  but  by  the  householder  himself 
in  company  with  his  wife.  For  this  reason  there  is, 
apart  from  deviations  in  arrangement  and  expression, 
omission  or  addition,  no  essential  difference  between  the 
various  Grihya  Sutras,  except  that  the  verses  to  be  re- 
peated which  they  contain  are  taken  from  the  Veda  to 
which  they  belong.  Each  Grihya  Sutra,  besides  being 
attached  to  and  referring  to  the  Crauta  Sutra  of  the  same 
school,  presupposes  a  knowledge  of  it.  But  though  thus 
connected,  the  two  do  not  form  a  unity. 

The  second  class  of  Sutras,  which  deal  with  social  and 
legal  usage,  is,  like  the  Grihya  Sutras,  also  based  on 
smriti  or  tradition.  These  are  the  Dharma  Sutras,  which 
are  in  general  the  oldest  sources  of  Indian  law.  As  is 
implied  by  the  term  dlia-mia,  "  religion  and  morality," 
their  point  of  view  is  chiefly  a  religious  one.  The)'-  are 
closely  connected  with  the  Veda,  which  they  quote,  and 
which  the  later  law-books  regard  as  the  first  and  highest 
source  of  dharma. 

From  the  intensely  crabbed  and  unintelligible  nature 
of  their  style,  and  the  studied  baldness  with  which  they 
present  their  subjects,  it  is  evident  that  the  Sutras  are 
inferior  even  to  the  Brahmanas  as  literary  productions. 
Judged,  however,  with  regard  to  its  matter,  this  strange 
phase  of  literature  has  considerable  value.     In  all  other 


ancient  literatures  knowledge  of  sacrificial  rites  can  only 
be  gained  by  collecting  stray  references.  But  in  the 
ritual  Sutras  we  possess  the  ancient  manuals  which  the 
priests  used  as  the  foundation  of  their  sacrificial  lore. 
Their  statements  are  so  systematic  and  detailed  that  it 
is  possible  to  reconstruct  from  them  various  sacrifices 
without  having  seen  them  performed.  They  are  thus  of 
great  importance  for  the  history  of  religious  institutions, 
But  the  Sutras  have  a  further  value.  For,  as  the  life  of 
the  Hindu,  more  than  that  of  any  other  nation,  was,  even 
in  the  Vedic  age,  surrounded  with  a  network  of  religious 
forms,  both  in  its  daily  course  and  in  its  more  important 
divisions,  the  domestic  ritual  as  well  as  the  legal  Sutras 
are  our  most  important  sources  for  the  study  of  the 
social  conditions  of  ancient  India.  They  are  the  oldest 
Indian  records  of  all  that  is  included  under  custom. 

Besides  these  ritual  and  legal  compendia,  the  Sutra 
period  produced  several  classes  of  works  composed  in 
this  style,  which,  though  not  religious  in  character,  had  a 
religious  origin.  They  arose  from  the  study  of  the 
Vedas,  which  was  prompted  by  the  increasing  difficulty 
of  understanding  the  hymns,  and  of  reciting  them 
correctly,  in  consequence  of  the  changes  undergone  by 
the  language.  Their  chief  object  was  to  ensure  the  right 
recitation  and  interpretation  of  the  sacred  text.  One  of 
the  most  important  classes  of  this  ancillary  literature 
comprises  the  Prdtiqakhya  Sutras,  which,  dealing  with 
accentuation,  pronunciation,  metre,  and  other  matters, 
are  chiefly  concerned  with  the  phonetic  changes  under- 
gone by  Vedic  words  when  combined  in  a  sentence. 
They  contain  a  number  of  minute  observations,  such 
as  have  only  been  made  over  again  by  the  phone- 
ticians  of   the   present   day   in    Europe.     A   still    more 



important  branch  of  this  subsidiary  literature  is  grammar, 
in  which  the  results  attained  by  the  Indians  in  the 
systematic  analysis  of  language  surpass  those  arrived  at 
by  any  other  nation.  Little  has  been  preserved  of  the 
earliest  attempts  in  this  direction,  for  all  that  had  been 
previously  done  was  superseded  by  the  great  Sutra  work 
of  Panini.  Though  belonging  probably  to  the  middle 
of  the  Sutra  period,  Panini  must  be  regarded  as  the 
starting-point  of  the  Sanskrit  age,  the  literature  of  which 
is  almost  entirely  dominated  by  the  linguistic  standard 
stereotyped  by  him. 

In  the  Sutra  period  also  arose  a  class  of  works 
specially  designed  for  preserving  the  text  of  the  Vedas 
from  loss  or  change.  These  are  the  Anukramanis  or 
"  Indices,"  which  quote  the  first  words  of  each  hymn, 
its  author,  the  deity  celebrated  in  it,  the  number  of 
verses  it  contains,  and  the  metre  in  which  it  is  composed. 
One  of  them  states  the  total  number  of  hymns,  verses, 
words,  and  even  syllables,  contained  in  the  Rigveda, 
besides  supplying  other  details. 

From  this  general  survey  of  the  Vedic  period  we 
now  turn  to  a  more  detailed  consideration  of  the  dif- 
ferent phases  of  the  literature  it  produced. 



In  the  dim  twilight  preceding  the  dawn  of  Indian  litera- 
ture the  historical  imagination  can  perceive  the  forms  of 
Aryan  warriors,  the  first  Western  conquerors  of  Hindu- 
stan, issuing  from  those  passes  in  the  north-west  through 
which  the  tide  of  invasion  has  in  successive  ages  rolled 
to  sweep  over  the  plains  of  India.  The  earliest  poetry 
of  this  invading  race,  whose  language  and  culture  ulti- 
mately overspread  the  whole  continent,  was  composed 
while  its  tribes  still  occupied  the  territories  on  both  sides 
of  the  Indus  now  known  as  Eastern  Kabulistan  and  the 
Pan  jab.  That  ancient  poetry  has  come  cjown  to  us  in 
the  fonn_eLL-^^-cr>ITprtinn  nf  hymrre-f^4W4-  tfrg  Rigveda. 
The  cause  which  gathered  the  poems  it  contains  into  a 
single  book  was  not  practical,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Sdma- 
and  Yajur-veda,  but  scientific  and  historical.  For  its 
ancient  editors  were  undoubtedly  impelled  by  the 
motive  of  guarding  this  heritage  of  olden  time  from 
change  and  destruction.  The  number  of  hymns  com- 
prised in  the  Rigveda,  in  the  only  recension  which  has 
been  preserved,  that  of  the  (^akala  school,  is  1017,  or, 
if  the  eleven  supplementary  hymns  (called  Valakhilya) 
which  are  inserted  in  the  middle  of  the  eighth  book 
are  added,  1028.  These  hymns  are  grouped  in  ten 
books,  called  mandalasy  or  "cycles,"  which  vary  in 
length,  except  that  the  tenth  contains  the  same  number 


of  hymns  as  the  first.  In  bulk  the  hymns  of  the  Rig- 
veda equal,  it  has  been  calculated,  the  surviving  poems 
of  Homer. 

The  general  character  of  the  ten  books  is  not  identical 
in  all  cases.  Six  of  them  (ii.-vii.)  are  homogeneous.  Each 
of  these,  in  the  first  place,  is  the  work  of  a  different  seer  or 
his  descendants  according  to  the  ancient  tradition,  which 
is  borne  out  by  internal  evidence.  They  were  doubtless 
long  handed  down  separately  in  the  families  to  which 
they  owed  their  being.  Moreover,  the  hymns  contained 
in  these  "  family  books,"  as  they  are  usually  called,  are 
arranged  on  a  uniform  plan  differing  from  that  of  the 
rest.  The  first,  eighth,  and  tenth  books  are  not  the  pro- 
ductions of  a  single  family  of  seers  respectively,  but 
consist  of  a  number  of  groups  based  on  identity  of 
authorship.  The  arrangement  of  the  ninth  book  is  in 
no  way  connected  with  its  composers  ;  its  unity  is  due 
to  all  its  hymns  being  addressed  to  the  single  deity  Soma, 
while  its  groups  depend  on  identity  of  metre.  The 
family  books  also  contain  groups ;  but  each  of  these 
is  formed  of  hymns  addressed  to  one  and  the  same 

Turning  to  the  principle  on  which  the  entire  books  of 
the  Rigveda  are  arranged  in  relation  to  one  another,  we 
find  that  Books  II.-VII.,  if  allowance  is  made  for  later 
additions,  form  a  series  of  collections  which  contain  a 
successively  increasing  number  of  hymns.  This  fact, 
combined  with  the  uniformity  of  these  books  in  general 
character  and  internal  arrangement,  renders  it  probable 
that  they  formed  the  nucleus  of  the  Rigveda,  to  which 
the  remaining  books  were  successively  added.  It  further 
seems  likely  that  the  nine  shorter  collections,  which  form 
the  second  part  of  Book  I.,  as  being  similarly  based  on 


identity  of  authorship,  were  subsequently  combined  and 
prefixed  to  the  family  books,  which  served  as  the  model 
for  their  internal  arrangement. 

I  The  hymns  of  the  eighth  book  in  general  show  a 
mutual  affinity  hardly  less  pronounced  than  that  to  be 
/found  in  the  family  books.  For  they  are  connected  by 
numerous  repetitions  of  similar  phrases  and  lines  running 
through  the  whole  book.  The  latter,  however,  does  not 
form  a  parallel  to  the  family  books.  For  though  a  single 
family,  that  of  the  Kanvas,  at  least  predominates  among 
its  authors,  the  prevalence  in  it  of  the  strophic  form  of 
composition  impresses  upon  it  a  character  of  its  own. 
Moreover,  the  fact  that  the  eighth  book  contains  fewer 
hymns  than  the  seventh,  in  itself  shows  that  the  former 
did  not  constitute  one  of  the  family  series. 

The  first  part  (1-50)  of  Book  I.  has  considerable  affi- 
nities with  the  eighth,  more  than  half  its  hymns  being  attri- 
buted to  members  of  the  Kanva  family,  while  in  the  hymns 
composed  by  some  of  these  Kanvas  the  favourite  strophic 
metre  of  the  eighth  book  reappears.  There  are,  more- 
over, numerous  parallel  and  directly  identical  passages  in 
the  two  collections.  It  is,  however,  at  present  impossible 
to  decide  which  of  the  two  is  the  earlier,  or  why  it  is  that, 
though  so  nearly  related,  they  should  have  been  sepa- 
rated. Certain  it  is  that  they  were  respectively  added  at 
the  beginning  and  the  end  of  a  previously  existing  collec- 
tion, whether  they  were  divided  for  chronological  reasons 
or  because  composed  by  different  branches  of  the  Kanva 

As  to  the  ninth  book,  it  cannot  be  doubted  that  it 
came  into  being  as  a  collection  after  the  first  eight  books 
had  been  combined  into  a  whole.  Its  formation  was  in 
fact  the  direct  result  of  that  combination.    The  hymns  to 

BOOKS   IX.  AND  X.  43 

Soma  Pavamana  ("the  clearly  flowing")  are  composed 
by  authors  of  the  same  families  as  produced  Books 
II.— VII.,  a  fact,  apart  from  other  evidence,  sufficiently 
indicated  by  their  having  the  characteristic  refrains  of 
those  families.  The  Pavamana  hymns  have  affinities  to 
the  first  and  eighth  books  also.  When  the  hymns  of  the 
different  families  were  combined  into  books,  and  clearly 
not  till  then,  all  their  Pavamana  hymns  were  taken  out 
and  gathered  into  a  single  collection.  This  of  course 
does  not  imply  that  the  Pavamana  hymns  themselves 
were  of  recent  origin.  On  the  contrary,  though  some  of 
them  may  date  from  the  time  when  the  tenth  book  came 
into  existence,  there  is  good  reason  to  suppose  that  the 
poetry  of  the  Soma  hymns,  which  has  many  points  in 
common  with  the  Avesta,  and  deals  with  a  ritual  going 
back  to  the  Indo-Iranian  period,  reached  its  conclusion 
as  a  whole  in  early  times  among  the  Vedic  singers.  Differ- 
ences of  age  in  the  hymns  of  the  ninth  book  have  been 
almost  entirely  effaced  ;  at  any  rate,  research  has  as  yet 
hardly  succeeded  in  distinguishing  chronological  stages 
in  this  collection. 

With  regard  to  the  tenth  book,  there  can  be  no  doubt 
that  its  hymns  came  into  being  at  a  time  when  the  first 
nine  already  existed.  Its  composers  grew  up  in  the 
knowledge  of  the  older  books,  with  which  they  betray 
their  familiarity  at  every  turn.  The  fact  that  the  author 
of  one  of  its  groups  (20-26)  begins  with  the  opening 
words  (agnim  lie)  of  the  first  stanza  of  the  Rigveda,  is 
probably  an  indication  that  Books  I.-IX.  already  existed 
in  his  day  even  as  a  combined  collection.  That  the 
tenth  book  is  indeed  an  aggregate  of  supplementary 
hymns  is  shown  by  its  position  after  the  Soma  book,  and 
by  the  number  of  its  hymns  being  made  up  to  that  of 


the  first  book  (191).  The  unity  which  connects  its 
poetry  is  chronological ;  for  it  is  the  book  of  recent 
groups  and  recent  single  hymns.  Nevertheless  the 
supplements  collected  in  it  appear  for  the  most  part  to 
be  older  than  the  additions  which  occur  in  the  earlier 

There  are  many  criteria,  derived  from  its  matter 
as  well  as  its  form,  showing  the  recent  origin  of  the 
tenth  book.  With  regard  to  mythology,  we  find  the 
earlier  gods  beginning  to  lose  their  hold  on  the  imagi- 
nation of  these  later  singers.  Some  of  them  seem  to 
be  disappearing,  like  the  goddess  of  Dawn,  while  only 
deities  of  widely  established  popularity,  such  as  Indra 
and  Agni,  maintain  their  position.  The  comprehensive 
group  of  the  Vigve  devds,  or  "All  gods,"  has  alone 
increased  in  prominence.  On  the  other  hand,  an 
altogether  new  type,  the  deification  of  purely  abstract 
ideas,  such  as  "  Wrath  "  and  "  Faith,"  now  appears  for 
the  first  time.  Here,  too,  a  number  of  hymns  are  found 
dealing  with  subjects  foreign  to  the  earlier  books,  such 
as  cosmogony  and  philosophical  speculation,  wedding 
and  burial  rites,  spells  and  incantations,  which  give  to 
this  book  a  distinctive  ^character  besides  indicating  its 
recent  origin. 

Linguistically,  also,  the  tenth  book  is  clearly  dis- 
tinguished as  later  than  the  other  books,  forming  in 
many  respects  a  transition  to  the  other  Vedas.  A  few 
examples  will  here  suffice  to  show  this.  Vowel  con- 
tractions occur  much  more  frequently,  while  the  hiatus 
has  grown  rarer.  The  use  of  the  letter  /,  as  com- 
pared with  r,  is,  in  agreement  with  later  Sanskrit, 
strikingly  on  the  increase.  In  inflexion  the  employment 
of  the  Vedic  nominative  plural  in  dsas  is  on  the  decline. 


With  regard  to  the  vocabulary,  many  old  words  are 
going  out  of  use,  while  others  are  becoming  commoner. 
Thus  the  particle  sim,  occurring  fifty  times  in  the  rest  of 
the  Rigveda,  is  found  only  once  in  the  tenth  book.  A 
number  of  words  common  in  the  later  language  are 
only  to  be  met  with  in  this  book  ;  for  instance,  labh,  "  to 
take,"  kala,  "time,"  lakshmi,  "fortune,"  evam,  "thus." 
Here,  too,  a  number  of  conscious  archaisms  can  be 
pointed  out. 

Thus  the  tenth  book  represents  a  definitely  later 
stratum  of  composition  in  the  Rigveda.  Individual 
hymns  in  the  earlier  books  have  also  been  proved  by 
various  recognised  criteria  to  be  of  later  origin  than 
others,  and  some  advance  has  been  made  towards 
assigning  them  to  three  or  even  five  literary  epochs. 
Research  has,  however,  not  yet  arrived  at  any  certain 
results  as  to  the  age  of  whole  groups  in  the  earlier 
books.  For  it  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  posteriority 
of  collection  and  incorporation  does  not  necessarily 
prove  a  later  date  of  composition. 

Some  hundreds  of  years  must  have  been  needed 
for  all  the  hymns  found  in  the  Rigveda  to  come  into 
being.  There  was  also,  doubtless,  after  the  separation 
of  the  Indians  from  the  Iranians,  an  intermediate 
period,  though  it  was  probably  of  no  great  length.  In 
this  transitional  age  must  have  been  composed  the 
more  ancient  poems  which  are  lost,  and  in  which  the 
style  of  the  earliest  preserved  hymns,  already  composed 
with  much  skill,  was  developed.  The  poets  of  the 
older  part  of  the  Rigveda  themselves  mention  pre- 
decessors, in  whose  wise  they  sing,  whose  songs  they 
desire  to  renew,  and  speak  of  ancestral  hymns  pro- 
duced in  clays  of  yore.      As  far  as  linguistic  evidence 


is  concerned,  it  affords  little  help  in  discriminating 
periods  within  the  Rigveda  except  with  regard  to  the 
tenth  book.  For  throughout  the  hymns,  in  spite  of 
the  number  of  authors,  essentially  the  same  language 
prevails.  It  is  quite  possible  to  distinguish  differences 
of  thought,  style,  and  poetical  ability,  but  hardly  any 
differences  of  dialect.  Nevertheless,  patient  and  minute 
linguistic  research,  combined  with  the  indications  de- 
rived from  arrangement,  metre,  and  subject-matter,  is 
beginning  to  yield  evidence  which  may  lead  to  the 
recognition  of  chronological  strata  in  the  older  books 
of  the  Rigveda, 

Though  the  aid  of  MSS.  for  this  early  period 
entirely  fails,  we  yet  happily  possess  for  the  Rigveda 
an  abundant  mass  of  various  readings  over  2000  years 
old.  These  are  contained  in  the  other  Vedas,  which 
are  largely  composed  of  hymns,  stanzas,  and  lines 
borrowed  from  the  Rigveda.  The  other  Vedas  are, 
in  fact,  for  the  criticism  of  the  Rigveda}  what  manu- 
scripts are  for  other  literary  monuments.  We  are 
thus  enabled  to  collate  with  the  text  of  the  Rigveda 
directly  handed  down,  various  readings  considerably 
older  than  even  the  testimony  of  Yaska  and  of  the 

The  comparison  of  the  various  readings  supplied 
by  the  later  Vedas  leads  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
text  of  the  Rigveda  existed,  with  comparatively  few 
exceptions,  in  its  present  form,  and  not  in  a  possibly 
different  recension,  at  the  time  when  the  text  of  the 
Sdma-veda,  the  oldest  form  of  the  Yajur-veda,  and  the 
Atharva-veda  was  constituted.  The  number  of  cases  is 
infinitesimal  in  which  the  Rigveda  shows  a  corruption 
from  which  the  others  are  free.     Thus  it  appears  that 


the  kernel  of  Vedic  tradition,  as  represented  by  the 
Rigveda,  has  come  down  to  us,  with  a  high  degree 
of  fixity  and  remarkable  care  for  verbal  integrity, 
from  a*  period  which  can  hardly  be  less  remote  than 
1000  B.C. 

It  is  only  natural  that  a  sacred  collection  of  poetry, 
historical  in  its  origin,  and  the  heritage  of  oral  tradi- 
tion .before  the  other  Vedas  were  composed  and  the 
details  of  the  later  ritual  practice  were  fixed,  should 
have  continued  to  be  preserved  more  accurately  than 
texts  formed  mainly  by  borrowing  from  it  hymns  which 
were  arbitrarily  cut  up  into  groups  of  verses  or  into 
single  verses,  solely  in  order  to  meet  new  liturgical 
needs.  For  those  who  removed  verses  of  the  Rigveda 
from  their  context  and  mixed  them  up  with  their  own 
new  creations  would  not  feel  bound  to  guard  such 
verses  from  change  as  strictly  as  those  who  did  nothing 
but  continue  to  hand  down,  without  any  break,  the 
ancient  text  in  its  connected  form.  The  control  of 
tradition  would  be  wanting  where  quite  a  new  tradition 
was  being  formed. 

The  criticism  of  the  text  of  the  Rigveda  itself  is 
concerned  with  two  periods.  The  first  is  that  in  which 
it  existed  alone  before  the  other  Vedas  came  into  being ; 
the  second  is  that  in  which  it  appears  in  the  phonetically 
modified  form  called  the  Samhita  text,  due  to  the  labours 
of  grammatical  editors.  Being  handed  down  in  the 
older  period  exclusively  by  oral  tradition,  it  was  not 
preserved  in  quite  authentic  form  down  to  the  time  of 
its  final  redaction.  It  did  not  entirely  escape  the  fate 
suffered  by  all  works  which,  coming  down  from  remote 
antiquity,  survive  into  an  age  of  changed  linguistic 
conditions.     Though  there  are  undeniable   corruptions 


in  detail. belonging  to  the  older  period,  the  text  main- 
tained a  remarkably  high  level  of  authenticity  till  such 
modifications  as  it  had  undergone  reached  their  con- 
clusion in  the  Samhita  text.  This  text  differs  in  hundreds 
of  places  from  that  of  the  composers  of  the  hymns ; 
but  its  actual  words  are  nearly  always  the  same  as  those 
used  by  the  ancient  seers.  Thus  there  would  be  no 
uncertainty  as  to  whether  the  right  word,  for  instance, 
was  sumnam  or  dyumnam.  The  difference  lies  almost 
entirely  in  the  phonetic  changes  which  the  words  have 
undergone  according  to  the  rules  of  Sandhi  prevailing 
in  the  classical  language.  Thus  what  was  formerly 
pronounced  as  tuani  hi  ague  now  appears  as  tvaiu  hy 
agne.  The  modernisation  of  the  text  thereby  produced  is, 
however,  only  partial,  and  is  often  inconsistently  applied. 
The  euphonic  combinations  introduced  in  the  Samhita 
text  have  interfered  with  the  metre.  Hence  by  reading 
according  to  the  latter  the  older  text  can  be  restored. 
At  the  same  time  the  Samhita  text  has  preserved  the 
smallest  minutia?  of  detail  most  liable  to  corruption, 
and  the  slightest  difference  in  the  matter  of  accent  and 
alternative  forms,  which  might  have  been  removed  with 
the  greatest  ease.  Such  points  furnish  an  additional 
proof  that  the  extreme  care  with  which  the  verbal 
integrity  of  the  text  was  guarded  goes  back  to  the 
earlier  period  itself.  Excepting  single  mistakes  of  tradi- 
tion in  the  first,  and  those  due  to  grammatical  theories 
in  the  second  period,  the  old  text  of  the  Rigveda  thus 
shows  itself  to  have  been  preserved  from  a  very  remote 
antiquity  with  marvellous  accuracy  even  in  the  smallest 

From  the  explanatory  discussions  of  the  Brahmanas 
in  connection  with  the  Rigveda,  it  results  that  the  text 


of  the  latter  must  have  been  essentially  fixed  in  their 
time,  and  that  too  in  quite  a  special  manner,  more,  for 
instance,  than  the  prose  formulas  of  the  Yajurveda.  For 
the  Qatapatha  Brdhmana,  while  speaking  of  the  possibility 
of  varying  some  of  these  formulas,  rejects  the  notion  of 
changing  the  text  of  a  certain  Rigvedic  verse,  proposed 
by  some  teachers,  as  something  not  to  be  thought  of. 
The  Brahmanas  further  often  mention  the  fact  that 
such  and  such  a  hymn  or  liturgical  group  contains  a 
particular  number  of  verses.  All  such  numerical 
statements  appear  to  agree  with  the  extant  text  of 
the  Rigveda.  On  the  other  hand,  transpositions  and 
omissions  of  Rigvedic  verses  are  to  be  found  in  the 
Brahmanas.  These,  however,  are  only  connected  with 
the  ritual  form  of  those  verses,  and  in  no  way  show 
that  the  text  from  which  they  were  taken  was  different 
from  ours. 

The  Sutras  also  contain  altered  forms  of  Rigvedic 
verses,  but  these  are,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Brahmanas, 
to  be  explained  not  from  an  older  recension  of  the  text, 
but  from  the  necessity  of  adapting  them  to  new  ritual 
technicalities.  On  the  other  hand,  they  contain  many 
statements  which  confirm  our  present  text.  Thus  all 
that  the  Sutra  of  (Jankhayana  says  about  the  position 
occupied  by  verses  in  a  hymn,  or  the  total  number  of 
verses  contained  in  groups  of  hymns,  appears  invariably 
to  agree  with  our  text. 

We  have  yet  to  answer  the  question  as  to  when  the 
Samhita  text,  which  finally  fixed  the  canonical  form  of 
the  Rigveda,  was  constituted.  Now  the  Brahmanas  con- 
tain a  number  of  direct  statements  as  to  the  number  of 
syllables  in  a  word  or  a  group  of  words,  which  are  at 
variance  with  the  Samhita  text  owing  to  the  vowel  con- 


tractions  made  in  the  latter.  Moreover,  the  old  part  of 
the  Brahmana  literature  shows  hardly  any  traces  of 
speculations  about  phonetic  questions  connected  with 
the  Vedic  text.  The  conclusion  may  therefore  be  drawn 
that  the  Samhita  text  did  not  come  into  existence  till 
afterthe  completion  of  the  Brahmanas.  With  regard  to 
the  Aranyakas  and  Upanishads,  which  form  supplements 
to  the  Brahmanas,  the  case  is  different.  These  works 
not  only  mention  technical  grammatical  terms  for  certain 
groups  of  letters,  but  contain  detailed  doctrines  about 
the  phonetic  treatment  of  the  Vedic  text.  Here,  too, 
occur  for  the  first  time  the  names  of  certain  theological 
grammarians,  headed  by  (^akalya  and  Mandukeya,  who 
are  also  recognised  as  authorities  in  the  Pratigakhyas. 
The  Aranyakas  and  Upanishads  accordingly  form  a  transi- 
tion, with  reference  to  the  treatment  of  grammatical  ques- 
tions, between  the  age  of  the  Brahmanas  and  that  of 
Yaska  and  the  Pratigakhyas.  The  Samhita  text  must 
have  been  created  in  this  intermediate  period,  say  about 
600  B.C. 

This  work  being  completed,  extraordinary  precautions 
soon  began  to  be  taken  to  guard  the  canonical  text  thus 
fixed  against  the  possibility  of  any  change  or  loss.  The 
result  has  been  its  preservation  with  a  faithfulness  unique 
in  literary  history.  The  first  step  taken  in  this  direction 
was  the  constitution  of  the  Pada,  or  "word"  text,  which 
being  an  analysis  of  the  Samhita,  gives  each  separate 
word  in  its  independent  form,  and  thus  to  a  consider- 
able extent  restores  the  Samhita  text  to  an  older  stage. 
That  the  Pada  text  was  not  quite  contemporaneous  in 
origin  with  the  other  is  shown  by  its  containing  some 
undoubted  misinterpretations  and  misunderstandings. 
Its  composition  can,  however,  only  be  separated  by  a 

THE  PADA  TEXT  5  1 

short  interval  from  that  of  the  Samhita,  for  it  appears 
to  have  been  known  to  the  writer  of  the  Aitareya 
Aranyaka,  while  its  author,  (^akalya,  is  older  than  both 
Yaska,  who  quotes  him,  and  (^aunaka,  composer  of 
the  Rigveda  Praticdkhya,  which  is  based  on  the  Pada 

The  importance  of  the  latter  as  a  criterion  of  the 
authenticity  of  verses  in  the  Rigveda  is  indicated  by  the 
following  fact.  There  are  six  verses  in  the  Rigveda 1  not 
analysed  in  the  Pada  text,  but  only  given  there  over 
again  in  the  Samhita  form.  This  shows  that  Cakalya  did 
not  acknowledge  them  as  truly  Rigvedic,  a  view  justified 
by  internal  evidence.  This  group  of  six,  which  is  doubt- 
less exhaustive,  stands  midway  between  old  additions 
which  (Jakalya  recognised  as  canonical,  and  the  new 
appendages  called  Khilas,  which  never  gained  admission 
into  the  Pada  text  in  any  form. 

A  further  measure  for  preserving  the  sacred  text  from 
alteration  with  still  greater  certainty  was  soon  taken  in 
the  form  of  the  Krama-patha,  or  "step-text."  This  is 
old,  for  it,  like  the  Pada-patha,  is  already  known  to  the 
author  of  the  Aitareya  Aranyaka,  Here  every  word  of 
the  Pada  text  occurs  twice,  being  connected  both  with 
that  which  precedes  and  that  which  follows.  Thus  the 
first  four  words,  if  represented  by  a,  b,  e,  d,  would  be  read 
as  ab,  be,  ed.  The  Jata-patha,  or  "  woven-text,"  in  its  turn 
based  on  the  Krama-patha,  states  each  of  its  combina- 
tions three  times,  the  second  time  in  reversed  order  {ab, 
baf  ab;  be,  cb,  be).  The  climax  of  complication  is  reached 
in  the  Ghana-patha,  in  which  the  order  is  ab,  ba,  abc,  cba, 
abc  ;  be,  cb,  bed,  &c. 

The  Praticakhyas  may  also  be  regarded  as  safeguards 


of  the  text,  having  been  composed  for  the  purpose  of 
exhibiting  exactly  all  the  changes  necessary  for  turning 
the  Pada  into  the  Samhita  text. 

Finally,  the  class  of  supplementary  works  called 
Anukramanls,  or  "  Indices,"  aimed  at  preserving  the  Rig- 
veda  intact  by  registering  its  contents  from  various  points 
of  view,  besides  furnishing  calculations  of  the  number  of 
hymns,  verses,  words,  and  even  syllables,  contained  in 
the  sacred  book. 

The  text  of  the  Rigveda  has  come  down  to  us  in  a 
single  recension  only ;  but  is  there  any  evidence  that 
other  recensions  of  it  existed  in  former  times  ? 

The  Charana-vyuha,  or  "  Exposition  of  Schools,"  a  sup- 
plementary work  of  the  Sutra  period,  mentions  as  the  five 
cdkhds  or  "  branches "  of  the  Rigveda,  the  Cakalas,  the 
Vashkalas,  the  Acvalayanas,  the  (^ankhayanas,  and  the 
Mandukeyas.  The  third  and  fourth  of  these  schools, 
however,  do  not  represent  different  recensions  of  the 
text,  the  sole  distinction  between  them  and  the  Cakalas 
having  been  that  the  Acvalayanas  recognised  as  canoni- 
cal the  group  of  the  eleven  Vdlakhilya  or  supplementary 
hymns,  and  the  (^ankhayanas  admitted  the  same  group, 
diminished  only  by  a  few  verses.  Hence  the  tradition  of 
the  Puranas,  or  later  legendary  works,  mentions  only  the 
three  schools  of  (Jakalas,  Vashkalas,  and  Mandukas.  If 
the  latter  ever  possessed  a  recension  of  an  independent 
character,  all  traces  of  it  were  lost  at  an  early  period  in 
ancient  India,  for  no  information  of  any  kind  about  it 
has  been  preserved.  Thus  only  the  two  schools  of  the 
(Jakalas  and  the  Vashkalas  come  into  consideration.  The 
subsidiary  Vedic  writings  contain  sufficient  evidence  to 
show  that  the  text  of  the  Vashkalas  differed  from  that  of 
the  (Jakalas  only  in  admitting  eight  additional  hymns,  and 


in  assigning  another  position  to  a  group  of  the  first  book. 
But  in  these  respects  it  compares  unfavourably  with  the 
extant  text.  Thus  it  is  evident  that  the  (^akalas  not  only 
possessed  the  best  "radition  of  the  text  of  the  Rigveday 
but  handed  down  the  only  recension,  in  the  true  sense, 
which,  as  far  as  we  can  tell,  ever  existed. 

The  text  of  the  Rigveday  like  that  of  the  other  Sam- 
hitas,  as  well  as  of  two  of  the  Brahmanas  (the  Qatapatha 
and  the  Taittirlya,  together  with  its  Aranyaka),  has  come 
down  to  us  in  an  accented  form.  The  peculiarly  sacred 
character  of  the  text  rendered  the  accent  very  important 
for  correct  and  efficacious  recitation.  Analogously  the 
accent  was  marked  by  the  Greeks  in  learned  and  model 
editions  only.  The  nature  of  the  Vedic  accent  was 
musical,  depending  on  the  pitch  of  the  voice,  like  that 
of  the  ancient  Greeks.  This  remained  the  character  of 
the  Sanskrit  accent  till  later  than  the  time  of  Panini.  But 
just  as  the  old  Greek  musical  accent,  after  the  beginning 
of  our  ejr^i,  was  transformed  into  a  stress  accent,  so  by 
the  seventh  century~XDT(afKi  probably  long  before)  the 
Sanskrit  accent  had  undergone  a  similar  change.  While, 
however,  in  modern  Greek  the  stress  accent  has  remained, 
owing  to  the  high  pitch  of  the  old  acute,  on  the  same 
syllable  as  bore  the  musical  accent  in  the  ancient  lan- 
guage, the  modern  pronunciation  of  Sanskrit  has  no 
connection  with  the  Vedic  accent,  but  is  dependent  on 
the  quantity  of  the  last  two  or  three  syllables,  much  the 
same  as  in  Latin.  Thus  the  penultimate,  if  long,  is 
accented,  e.g.  Kdlidasay  or  the  antepenultimate,  if  long 
and  followed  by  a  short  syllable,  e.g.  brdhmana  or  Hima- 
laya ("abode  of  snow").  This  change  of  accent  in 
Sanskrit  was  brought  about  by  the  influence  of  Prakrit, 
in  which,  as  there  is  evidence  to  show,  the  stress  accent 




is  very  old,  going  back  several  centuries  before  the  be* 
ginning  of  our  era. 

There  are  three  accents  in  the  Rigveda  as  well  as  the 
other  sacred  texts.  The  most  important  of  these  is  the 
rising  accent,  called  ud-dtta  ("raised"),  which  corresponds 
to  the  Greek  acute.  Comparative  philology  shows  that 
in  Sanskrit  it  rests  on  the  same  syllable  as  bore  it  in  the 
proto- Aryan  language.  In  Greek  it  is  generally  on  the 
same  syllable  as  in  Sanskrit,  except  when  interfered  with 
by  the  specifically  Greek  law  restricting  the  accent  to 
one  of  the  last  three  syllables.  Thus  the  Greek  heptd 
corresponds  to  the  Vedic  saptd,  "  seven."  The  low- 
pitch  accent,  which  precedes  the  acute,  is  called  the  an- 
uddtta  ("not  raised").  The  third  is  the  falling  accent, 
which  usually  follows  the  acute,  and  is  called  svarita 

Of  the  four  different  systems  of  marking  the  accent  in 
Vedic  texts,  that  of  the  Rigveda  is  most  commonly  em- 
ployed. Here  the  acute  is  not  marked  at  all,  while  the 
low-pitch  anuddtta  is  indicated  by  a  horizontal  stroke 
below  the  syllable  bearing  it,  and  the  svarita  by  a  vertical 
stroke  above.  Thus yajnasy d  ("  of  sacrifice  ")  would  mean 
that  the  second  syllable  has  the  acute  and  the  third  the 
svarita  (yajndsyd).  The  reason  why  the  acute  is  not 
marked  is  because  it  is  regarded  as  the  middle  tone 
between  the  other  two.1 

The  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  consist  of  stanzas  ranging 
in   number   from   three   to   fifty-eight,   but   usually  not 

1  The  other  three  systems  are  :  (i)  that  of  the  MaitrayanT  and  Kdihaka 
Samhitas  (two  recensions  of  the  Black  Yajurveda),  which  mark  the  acute 
with  a  vertical  stroke  above ;  (2)  that  of  the  Catapatha  Brahmana,  which 
marks  the  acute  with  a  horizontal  stroke  below  ;  and  (3)  that  of  the  Sama- 
veda,  which  indicates  the  three  accents  with  the  numerals  1,  2,  3,  to  distinguish 
three  degrees  of  pitch,  the  acute  (1)  here  being  the  highest. 


exceeding  ten  or  twelve.  These  stanzas  (often  loosely 
called  verses)  are  composed  in  some  fifteen  different 
metres,  only  seven  of  which,  however,  are  at  all  frequent. 
Three  of  them  are  by  far  the  commonest,  claiming 
together  about  four-fifths  of  the  total  number  of  stanzas 
in  the  Rigveda. 

There  is  an  essential  difference  between  Greek  and 
Vedic  prosody.  Whereas  the  metrical  unit  of  the  forme_r 
system  is  the  foot7m~trie~tatteT  it  is  the  line  (or  verse)^ 
feeFnot  being  distinguished.  Curiously  enough,  how- 
ever,  the   Vedic   metrical   unit   is    also    called  pdda,  or 

"foot,yH5uTfof  a  very  different  reason  ;  for  the  word  has_ 
here  really  the  figurative  sense  of  "  quarter "  (from  the_ 
foot  of  a  quadruped),  because  the  most  usual  kind  of 
stanza  has  touT~Iines~Tfie""  ordinary  padas  consist  of 
eight,  eleven,  or  twelve  syllables.  A_  stanza  or  rich  is 
"generally  formed  of  three  or  four  lines  of  the  same  kind. 
Four  or  five  of  the  rarer  types  of  stanza  are,  however, 
made  up  of  a  combination,  of  different  lines.    ___ 

It  is  to  be  noted  that  the  Vedic  metres  have  a  certain 
elasticity  to  which  we  are  unaccustomed  in  Greek  pro- 
sody, and  which  recalls   the  irregularities  of  the   Latin 
Saturnian  verse.     Only  the  rhythm  of  the  last  four  or       / 
five  syllables   is  determined,  the  first   part  of   the   line     Xv 
not  being  subject  to  rule.     Regarded  in  their  historical-/    ^ 
connection,  the  Vedic  metres,  which  are  the  foundation 
of  the  entire  prosody  of  the  later  literature,  occupy  a 
position  midway  between  the  system  of  the  Indo-Iranian 
period  and  that  of  classical  Sanskrit.     For  the  evidence 
of  the  Avesta,  with  its  eight  and  eleven  syllable  lines, 
which  ignore  quantity,  but  are  combined  Into  stanzas 
otherwise   tne   sarneas~lhose  of  the  Rigveda,  indicates 
that  the  metricalpractice~of  the  periocTwhen  Persians     * 


and  Indians  were  still  one  people,  depended  on  no  other 
principle  than  the  counting  of  syllables.  In  the  Sanskrit 
period,  on  the  other  hand,  the  quantity  of  every  syllable 
in  the  line  was  determined  in  all  metres,  with  the  sole 
exception  of  the  loose  measure  (called  cloka)  employed 
in  epic  poetry.  The  metrical  regulation  of  the  line, 
starting  from  its  end,  thus  finally  extended  to  the  whole. 
The  fixed  rhythm  at  the  end  of  the  Vedic  line  is  called 
vritta,  literally  "  turn "  (from  vrit,  Lat.  vert-ere),  which 
corresponds  etymologically  to  the  Latin  versus. 

The  eight-syllable  line  usually  ends  in  two  iambics, 
the  first  four  syllables,  though  not  exactly  determined, 
having  a  tendency  to  be  iambic  also.  This  verse  is 
therefore  the  almost  exact  equivalent  of  the  Greek  iambic 

Three  of  these  lines  combine  to  form  the  gdyatrl 
metre,  in  which  nearly  one-fourth  (2450)  of  the  total 
number  of  stanzas  in  the  Rigveda  is  composed.  An 
example  of  it  is  the  first  stanza  of  the  Rigveda,  which 
runs  as  follows : — 

Agnim  ile  purohitam 
Yaj?idsya  devdm  ritvijam 
Hotdram  ratnadhdtamam. 

It  may  be  closely  rendered  thus  in  lines  imitating  the 
rhythm  of  the  original : — 

I  praise  Agni,  domestic  priest, 
God,  minister  of  sacrifice, 
Herald,  most  prodigal  of  wealth. 

Four  of  these  eight-syllable  lines  combine  to  form 
the  anushtubh  stanza,  in  which  the  first  two  and  the  last 
two  are  more  closely  connected.  In  the  Rigveda  the 
number  of  stanzas  in   this   measure    amounts   to    only 


about  one-third  of  those  in  the  gdyatrl.  This  relation 
is  gradually  reversed,  till  we  reach  the  post-Vedic  period, 
when  the  gdyatrl  is  found  to  have  disappeared,  and  the 
anushtubh  (now  generally  called  cloka)  to  have  become 
the  predominant  measure  of  Sanskrit  poetry.  A  develop- 
ment in  the  character  of  this  metre  may  be  observed 
within  the  Rigveda  itself.  All  its  verses  in  the  oldest 
hymns  are  the  same,  being  iambic  in  rhythm.  In  later 
hymns,  however,  a  tendency  to  differentiate  the  first  and 
third  from  the  second  and  fourth  lines,  by  making  the 
former  non-iambic,  begins  to  show  itself.  Finally,  in 
the  latest  hymns  of  the  tenth  book  the  prevalence  of  the 
iambic  rhythm  disappears  in  the  odd  lines.  Here  every 
possible  combination  of  quantity  in  the  last  four  syllables 
is  found,  but  the  commonest  variation,  nearly  equalling 

the  iambic  in   frequency,  is  w w.      The  latter  is  the 

regular  ending  of  the  first  and  third  line  in  the  post- 
Vedic  cloka. 

The  twelve-syllable  line4  ends  thus  :  — « — ^.  Four 
of  these  together  form  the  jagatl  stanza.  The  trishtubh 
stanza  consists  of  four  lines  of  eleven  syllables,  which 
are  practically  catalectic  jagatlsy  as  they  end  — ~— ~. 
These  two  verses  being  so  closely  allied  and  having 
the  same  cadence,  are  often  found  mixed  in  the  same 
stanza.  The  trishtubh  is  by  far  the  commonest  metre, 
about  two-fifths  of  the  Rigveda  being  composed  in  it. 

Speaking  generally,  a  hymn  of  the  Rigveda  consists 
entirely  of  stanzas  in  the  same  metre.  The  regular 
and  typical  deviation  from  this  rule  is  to  conclude  a 
hymn  with  a  single  stanza  in  a  metre  different  from 
that  of  the  rest,  this  being  a  natural  method  of  dis- 
tinctly marking  its  close. 

A  certain  number  of  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  consist 


not  merely  of  a  succession  of  single  stanzas,  but  of 
equal  groups  of  stanzas.  The  group  consists  either  of 
three  stanzas  in  the  same  simple  metre,  generally 
gdyatrly  or  of  the  combination  of  two  stanzas  in  different 
mixed  metres.  The  latter  strophic  type  goes  by  the 
name  of  Pragdtha,  and  is  found  chiefly  in  the  eighth 
book  of  the  Rigveda* 



Before  we  turn  to  describe  the  world  of  thought 
revealed  in  the  hymns  of  the  Rigveda,  the  question 
may  naturally  be  asked,  to  what  extent  is  it  possible 
to  understand  the  true  meaning  of  a  book  occupying 
so  isolated  a  position  in  the  remotest  age  of  Indian 
literature  ?  The  answer  to  this  question  depends  on 
the  recognition  of  the  right  method  of  interpretation 
applicable  to  that  ancient  body  of  poetry.  When  the 
Rigveda  first  became  known,  European  scholars,  as 
yet  only  acquainted  with  the  language  and  literature 
of  classical  Sanskrit,  found  that  the  Vedic  hymns  were 
composed  in  an  ancient  dialect  and  embodied  a  world 
of  ideas  far  removed  from  that  with  which  they  had 
made  themselves  familiar.  The  interpretation  of  these 
hymns  was  therefore  at  the  outset  barred  by  almost 
insurmountable  difficulties.  Fortunately,  however,  a 
voluminous  commentary  on  the  Rigveda,  which  ex- 
plains or  paraphrases  every  word  of  its  hymns,  was 
found  to  exist.  This  was  the  work  of  the  great  Vedic 
scholar  Sayana,  who  lived  in  the  latter  half  of  the  four- 
teenth century  A.D.  at  Vijayanagara  ("City  of  Victory"), 
the  ruins  of  which  lie  near  Bellary  in  Southern  India. 
As  his  commentary  constantly  referred  to  ancient 
authorities,  it  was  thought  to  have  preserved  the  true 
meaning  of  the  Rigveda  in  a  traditional  interpretation 


going  back  to  the  most  ancient  times.  Nothing  further 
seemed  to  be  necessary  than  to  ascertain  the  explana- 
tion of  the  original  text  which  prevailed  in  India 
five  centuries  ago,  and  is  laid  down  in  Sayana's  work. 

I  This    view   is    represented    by   the    translation    of    the 
Rigveda    begun    in    1850    by    H.    H.   Wilson,    the    first 

^professor  of  Sanskrit  at  Oxford. 

Another  line  was  taken  by  the  late  Professor  Roth,^ 
the  founder  of  Vedic  philology.  This  great  scholar 
propounded  the  view  that  the  aim  of  Vedic  interpre- 
tation was  not  to  ascertain  the  meaning  which  Sayana, 
or  even  Yaska,  who  lived  eighteen  centuries  earlier, 
attributed  to  the  Vedic  hymns,  but  the  meaning  which 
the  ancient  poets  themselves  intended.  Such  an  end 
could  not  be  attained  by  simply  following  the  lead  of 
the  commentators.  For  the  latter,  though  valuable 
guides  towards  the  understanding  of  the  later  theolo- 
gical and  ritual  literature,  with  the  notions  and  prac- 
tice of  which  they  were  familiar,  showed  no  con- 
tinuity of  tradition  from  the  time  of  the  poets ;  for 
the  tradition  supplied  by  them  was  solely  that  which 
was  handed  down  among  interpreters,  and  only  began 
when  the  meaning  of  the  hymns  was  no  longer  fully 
comprehended.  There  could,  in  fact,  be  no  other 
tradition  ;  interpretation  only  arising  when  the  hymns 
had  become  obscure.  The  commentators,  therefore, 
simply  preserved  attempts  at  the  solution  of  difficulties, 
while  showing  a  distinct  tendency  towards  misinterpret- 
ing the  language  as  well  as  the  religious,  mythological, 
and  cosmical  ideas  of  a  vanished  age  by  the  scholastic 
notions  prevalent  in  their  own. 

It  is  clear  from  what  Yaska  says  that  some  important 
discrepancies  in  opinion  prevailed  among  the  older  expo- 


sitors  and  the  different  schools  of  interpretation  which 
flourished  before  his  time.  He  gives  the  names  of  no 
fewer  than  seventeen  predecessors,  whose  explanations  of 
the  Veda  are  often  conflicting.  Thus  one  of  them  inter- 
prets the  word  Ndsatyau,  an  epithet  of  the  Vedic  Dios- 
kouroi,  as  "  true,  not  false  ; "  another  takes  it  to  mean 
"leaders  of  truth,"  while  Yaska  himself  thinks  it  might 
mean  "  nose-born  "  !  The  gap  between  the  poets  and 
the  early  interpreters  was  indeed  so  great  that  one  of 
Yaska's  predecessors,  named  Kautsa,  actually  had  the 
audacity  to  assert  that  the  science  of  Vedic  exposition 
was  useless,  as  the  Vedic  hymns  and  formulas  were 
obscure,  unmeaning,  or  mutually  contradictory.  Such 
criticisms  Yaska  meets  by  replying  that  it  was  not  the 
fault  of  the  rafter  if  the  blind  man  did  not  see  it.  Yaska 
himself  interprets  only  a  very  small  portion  of  the  hymns 
of  the  Rigveda.  In  what  he  does  attempt  to  explain,  he 
largely  depends  on  etymological  considerations  for  the 
sense  he  assigns.  He  often  gives  two  or  more  alternative 
or  optional  senses  to  the  same  word.  The  fact  that  he 
offers  a  choice  of  meanings  shows  that  he  had  no  earlier 
authority  for  his  guide,  and  that  his  renderings  are  simply 
conjectural ;  for  no  one  can  suppose  that  the  authors  of 
the  hymns  had  more  than  one  meaning  in  their  minds. 
It  is,  however,  highly  probable  that  Yaska,  with  all  the 
appliances  at  his  command,  was  able  to  ascertain  the 
sense  of  many  words  which  scholars  who,  like  Sayana, 
lived  nearly  two  thousand  years  later,  had  no  means  of 
discovering.  Nevertheless  Sayana  is  sometimes  found 
to  depart  from  Yaska.  Thus  we  arrive  at  the  dilemma 
that  either  the  old  interpreter  is  wrong  or  the  later  one 
does  not  follow  the  tradition.  There  are  also  many 
instances  in  which  Sayana,  independently  of  Yaska,  gives 


a  variety  of  inconsistent  explanations  of  a  word,  both  in 
interpreting  a  single  passage  or  in  commenting  on  dif- 
ferent passages.  (Thus  cdrada,  "  autumnal/'  he  explains 
in  one  place  as  "  fortified  for  a  year/'  in  another  as 
u  new  or  fortified  for  a  year/'  and  in  a  third  as  "  be- 
longing to  a  demon  called  (Jarad."  One  of  the  defects  of 
Sayana  is,  in  fact,  that  he  limits  his  view  in  most  cases 
to  the  single  verse  he  has  before  him.  A  detailed  exa- 
mination of  his  explanations,  as  well  as  those  of  Yaska, 
has  shown  that  there  is  in  the  Rigveda  a  large  number 
of  the  most  difficult  words,  about  the  proper  sense 
of  which  neither  scholar  had  any  certain  information 
from  either  tradition  or  etymology.  We  are  there- 
fore justified  in  saying  about  them  that  there  is  in 
the  hymns  no  unusual  or  difficult  word  or  obscure 
text  in  regard  to  which  the  authority  of  the  com- 
mentators should  be  received  as  final,  unless  it  is 
supported  by  probability,  by  the  context,  or  by  paral- 
lel passages.  Thus  no  translation  of  the  Rigveda  based 
exclusively  on  Sayana's  commentary  can  possibly  be 
satisfactory.  It  would,  in  fact,  be  as  unreasonable  to 
take  him  for  our  sole  guide  as  to  make  our  under- 
standing of  the  Hebrew  books  of  the  Old  Testament 
dependent  on  the  Talmud  and  the  Rabbis.  It  must, 
indeed,  be  admitted  that  from  a  large  proportion  of 
Sayana's  interpretations  most  material  help  can  be  de- 
rived, and  that  he  has  been  of  the  greatest  service  in 
facilitating  and  accelerating  the  comprehension  of  the 
Veda.  But  there  is  little  information  of  value  to  be 
derived  from  him,  that,  with  our  knowledge  of  later 
Sanskrit,  with  the  other  remains  of  ancient  Indian  litera- 
ture, and  with  our  various  philological  appliances,  we 
might  not  sooner  or  later  have  found  out  for  ourselves. 


Roth,  then,  rejected  the  commentators  as  our  chief 
guides  in  interpreting  the  Rigveday  which,  as  the  earliest 
literary  monument  of  the  Indian,  and  indeed  of  the 
Aryan  race,  stands  quite  by  itself,  high  up  on  an  isolated 
peak  of  remote  antiquity.  As  regards  its  more  peculiar 
and  difficult  portions,  it  must  therefore  be  interpreted 
mainly  through  itself ;  or,  to  apply  in  another  sense  the 
words  of  an  Indian  commentator,  it  must  shine  by  its 
own  light  and  be  self-demonstrating.  Roth  further  ex- 
pressed the  view  that  a  qualified  European  is  better  able 
to  arrive  at  the  true  meaning  of  the  Rigveda  than  a 
Brahman  interpreter.  The  judgment  of  the  former  is 
unfettered  by  theological  bias ;  he  possesses  the  his- 
torical faculty,  and  he  has  also  a  far  wider  intellectual 
horizon,  equipped  as  he  is  with  all  the  resources  of 
scientific  scholarship.  Roth  therefore  set  himself  to 
compare  carefully  all  passages  parallel  in  form  and 
matter,  with  due  regard  to  considerations  of  context, 
grammar,  and  etymology,  while  consulting,  though,  per- 
haps, with  insufficient  attention,  the  traditional  inter- 
pretations. He  thus  subjected  the  Rigveda  to  a  historical 
treatment  within  the  range  of  Sanskrit  itself.  He  further 
called  in  the  assistance  rendered  from  without  by  the 
comparative  method,  utilising  the  help  afforded  not  only 
by  the  Avesta,  which  is  so  closely  allied  to  the  Rigveda 
in  language  and  matter,  but  also  by  the  results  of  com- 
parative philology,  resources  unknown  to  the  traditional 

By  thus  ascertaining  the  meaning  of  single  words, 
the  foundations  of  the  scientific  interpretation  of  the 
Vedas  were  laid  in  the  great  Sanskrit  Dictionary,  in 
seven  volumes,  published  by  Roth  in  collaboration  with 
Bohtlingk  between   1852   and   1875.      Roth's  method  is 


now  accepted  by  every  scientific  student  of  the  Veda. 
Native  tradition  is,  however,  being  more  fully  exploited 
than  was  done  by  Roth  himself,  for  it  is  now  more  clearly 
recognised  that  no  aid  to  be  derived  from  extant  Indian 
scholarship  ought  to  be  neglected.  Under  the  guidance 
of  such  principles  the, progress  already  made  in  solving 
many  important  problems  presented  by  Vedic  literature 
has  been  surprising,  when  we  consider  the  shortness  of 
the  time  and  the  fewness  of  the  labourers,  of  whom  only 
two  or  three  have  been  natives  of  this  country.  As  a 
general  result,  the  historical  sense  has  succeeded  in 
grasping  the  spirit  of  Indian  antiquity,  long  obscured 
by  native  misinterpretation.  Much,  of  course,  still  re- 
mains to  be  done  by  future  generations  of  scholars, 
especially  in  detailed  and  minute  investigation.  This 
could  not  be  otherwise  when  we  remember  that  Vedic 
research  is  only  the  product  of  the  last  fifty  years,  and 
that,  notwithstanding  the  labours  of  very  numerous 
Hebrew  scholars  during  several  centuries,  there  are,  in 
the  Psalms  and  the  Prophetic  Books  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, still  many  passages  which  remain  obscure  and 
disputed.  There  can  be  no  doubt  that  many  problems 
at  present  insoluble  will  in  the  end  be  solved  by  that 
modern  scholarship  which  has  already  deciphered  the 
cuneiform  writings  of  Persia  as  well  as  the  rock  inscrip- 
tions of  India,  and  has  discovered  the  languages  which 
lay  hidden  under  these  mysterious  characters. 

Having  thus  arrived  at  the  threshold  of  the  world 
of  Vedic  thought,  we  may  now  enter  through  the  portals 
opened  by  the  golden  key  of  scholarship.  By  far  the 
greater  part  of  the  poetry  of  the  Rigveda  consists  of 
religious  lyrics,  only  the  tenth  book  containing  some 
secular  poems.N   Its  hymns  are  mainly  addressed  to  the 


various  gods  of  the  Vedic  pantheon,  praising  their  mighty 
deeds,  their  greatness,  and  their  beneficence,  or  be- 
seeching them  for  wealth  in  cattle,  numerous  offspring, 
prosperity,  long  life,  and  victory.  The  Rigveda  is  not  a 
collection  of  primitive  popular  poetry,  as  it  was  apt  to  be 
described  at  an  earlier  period  of  Sanskrit  studies.  It  is 
rather  a  body  of  skilfully  composed  hymns,  produced  by 
a  sacerdotal  class  and  meant'  to  accompany  the  Soma 
oblation  and  the  fire  sacrifice  of  melted  butter,  which 
were  offered  according  to  a  ritual  by  no  means  so  simple 
as  was  at  one  time  supposed,  though  undoubtedly  much 
simpler  than  the  elaborate  system  of  the  Brahmana 
period.  Its  poetry  is  consequently  marred  by  frequent 
references  to  the  sacrifice,  especially  when  the  two 
great  ritual  deities,  Agni  and  Soma,  are  the  objects  of 
praise.  At  the  same  time  it  is  on  the  whole  much  more 
natural  than  might  under  these  conditions  be  expected. 
For  the  gods  who  are  invoked  are  nearly  all  personifica- 
tions of  the  phenomena  of  Nature,  and  thus  give  occasion 
for  the  employment  of  much  beautiful  and  even  noble 
imagery.  The  diction  of  the  hymns  is,  generally  speak- 
ing, simple  and  unaffected.  Compound  words  are 
sparingly  used,  and  are  limited  to  two  members,  in 
marked  contrast  with  the  frequency  and  length  of  com- 
pounds in  classical  Sanskrit.  The  thought,  too,  is  usually 
artless  and  direct,  except  in  the  hymns  to  the  ritual 
deities,  where  it  becomes  involved  in  conceit  and  mystical 
obscurity.  THe  very  limited  nature  of  the  theme,  in 
ffiese  cases,  Inust  have  forced  the  minds  of  the  priestly 
singers  to  strive  after  variety  by  giving  utterance  to  the 
same  idea  in  enigmatical  phraseology. 

^Here^itien,  we~already  find  the  beginnings  of  that 
fondness  for  subtlety  and  difficult  modes  of  expression 


which  is  so  prevalent  in  the  later  literature,  and  which  is 
betrayed  even  in  the  earlier  period  by  the  saying  in  one 
of  the  Brahmanas  that  the  gods  love  the  recondite.  In 
some  hymns,  too,  there  appears  that  tendency  to  play 
with  words  which  was  carried  to  inordinate  lengths  in  late 
Sanskrit  poems  and  romances.  The  hymns  of  the  Rigveday 
of  course,  vary  much  in  literary  merit,  as  is  naturally  to 
be  expected  in  the  productions  of  many  poets  extend- 
ng  over  some  centuries.  Many  display  a  high  order  of 
poetical  excellence,  while  others  consist  of  commonplace 
and  mechanical  verse.  The  degree  of  skill  in  composi- 
tion is  on  the  average  remarkably  high,  especially  when 
we  consider  that  here  we  have  by  far  the  oldest  poetry 
of  the  Aryan  race.  The  art  which  these  early  seers  feel 
is  needed  to  produce  a  hymn  acceptable  to  the  gods 
is  often  alluded  to,  generally  in  the  closing  stanza.  The 
poet  usually  compares  his  work  to  a  car  wrought  and 
put  together  by  a  deft  craftsman.  One  Rishi  also  likens 
his  prayers  to  fair  and  well-woven  garments  ;  another 
speaks  of  having  adorned  his  song  of  praise  like  a  bride 
for  her  lover.  Poets  laud  the  gods  according  to  know- 
ledge and  ability  (vi.  21,  6),  and  give  utterance  to  the 
emotions  of  their  hearts  (x.  39,  15).  Various  individual 
gods  are,  it  is  true,  in  a  general  way  said  to  have 
granted  seers  the  gift  of  song,  but  of  the  later  doctrine 
of  revelation  the  Rigvedic  poets  know  nothing. 

The  remark  which  has  often  been  made  that  mono- 
tony prevails  in  the  Vedic  hymns  contains  truth.  But 
the  impression  is  produced  by  the  hymns  to  the  same 
deity  being  commonly  grouped  together  in  each  book. 
A  similar  effect  would  probably  arise  from  reading  in 
succession  twenty  or  thirty  lyrics  on  Spring,  even  in  an 
anthology  of  the  best   modern  poetry.     When  we  con- 


sider  that  nearly  five  hundred  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  are 
addressed  to  two  deities  alone,  it  is  surprising  that  so 
many  variations  of  the  same  theme  should  be  possible. 

The  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  being  mainly  invocations 
of  the  gods,  their  contents  are  largely  mythological. 
Special  interest  attaches  to  this  mythology,  because  it 
represents  an  earlier  stage  of  thought  than  is  to  be  found 
in  any  other  literature.  It  is  sufficiently  primitive  to 
enable  us  to  see  clearly  the  process  of  personification  by 
which  natural  phenomena  developed  into  gods.  Never 
observing,  in  his  ordinary  life,  action  or  movement  not 
caused  by  an  acting  or  moving  person,  the  Vedic  Indian, 
like  man  in  a  much  less  advanced  state,  still  refers 
such  occurrences  in  Nature  to  personal  agents,  which  to 
him  are  inherent  in  the  phenomena.  He  still  looks  out 
upon  the  workings  of  Nature  with  childlike  astonishment. 
One  poet  asks  why  the  sun  does  not  fall  from  the  sky  ; 
another  wonders  where  the  stars  go  by  day ;  while  a 
third  marvels  that  the  waters  of  all  rivers  constantly 
flowing  into  it  never  fill  the  ocean.  The  unvarying  re- 
gularity of  sun  and  moon,  and  the  unfailing  recurrence 
of  the  dawn,  however,  suggested  to  these  ancient  singers 
the  idea  of  the  unchanging  order  that  prevails  in  Nature, 
he  notion  of  this  general  law,  recognised  under  the 
name  rita  (properly  the  "  course  "  of  things),  we  find  in 
the  Rigveda  extended  first  to  the  fixed  rules  of  the 
sacrifice  (rite),  and  then  to  those  of  morality  (right). 
Though  the  mythological  phase  presented  by  the  Rigveda 
is  comparatively  primitive,  it  yet  contains  many  con- 
ceptions inherited  from  previous  ages.  The  parallels  of 
the  Avesta  show  that  several  of  the  Vedic  deities  go  back 
to  the  time  when  the  ancestors  of  Persians  and  Indians 
were  still  one  people.     Among  these  may  be  mentioned 



Yama,  god  of  the  dead,  identical  with  Yima,  ruler  of 
paradise,  and  especially  Mitra,  the  cult  of  whose  Persian 
counterpart,  Mithra,  obtained  from  200-400  A.D.  a  world- 
wide diffusion  in  the  Roman  Empire,  and  came  nearer  to 
monotheism  than  the  cult  of  any  other  god  in  paganism. 

Various  religious  practices  can  also  be  traced  back  to 
that  early  age,  such  as  the  worship  of  fire  and  the  cult  of 
the  plant  Soma  (the  Avestan  Haomd).  The  veneration 
of  the  cow,  too,  dates  from  that  time.  A  religious  hymn 
poetry  must  have  existed  even  then,  for  stanzas  of  four 
eleven-syllable  (the  Vedic  trishtubli)  and  of  four  or  three 
eight-syllable  lines  (anushtubh  and  gayatri)  were  already 
known,  as  is  proved  by  the  agreement  of  the  Avesta  with 
the  Rigveda. 

From  the  still  earlier  Indo-European  period  had  come 
down  the  general  conception  of  "  god  "  (deva-s,  Lat.  deu-s) 
and  that  of  heaven  as  a  divine  father  (Dyaus  pita,  Gr.  Zeus 
pater,  Lat.  Jupiter).  Probably  from  an  even  remoter  anti- 
quity is  derived  the  notion  of  heaven  and  earth  as  primeval 
and  universal  parents,  as  well  as  many  magical  beliefs. 

The. universe  appeared  to  the  poets  of  the  Rigveda  to 
be  divided  into  the  three  domains  of  earth,  air,  and 
heaven,  a  division  perhaps  also  known  to  the  early  Greeks. 
This  is  the  favourite  triad  of  the  Rigveda,  constantly 
mentioned  expressly  or  by  implication.  The  solar  phe- 
nomena are  referred  to  heaven,  while  those  of  light- 
ning, rain,  and  wind  belong  to  the  air.  In  the  three 
worlds  the  various  gods  perform  their  actions,  though 
they  are  supposed  to  dwell  only  in  the  third,  the  home  of 
light.  The  air  is  often  called  a  sea,  as  the  abode  of  the 
celestial  waters,  while  the  great  rainless  clouds  are  con- 
ceived sometimes  as  rocks  or  mountains,  sometimes  as 
the  castles  of  demons  who  wTar  against  the  gods.     The 


thundering  rain-clouds  become  lowing  cows,  whose  milk 
is  shed  and  bestows  fatness  upon  the  earth. 

The  higher  gods  of  the  Rigveda  are  almost  entirely 
personifications  of  natural  phenomena,  such  as  Sun, 
Dawni  Fire,  Wind.  Excepting  a  few  deities  surviving 
from  an  older  period,  the  gods  are,  for  the  most  part, 
more  or  less  clearly  connected  with  their  physical  founda- 
tion. The  personifications  being  therefore  but  slightly 
developed,  lack  definiteness  of  outline  and  individua- 
lity of  character.  Moreover,  the  phenomena  themselves 
which  are  behind  the  personifications  have  few  distinc- 
tive traits,  while  they  share  some  attributes  with  other 
phenomena  belonging  to  the  same  domain.  Thus  Dawn, 
Sun,  Fire  have  the  common  features  of  being  luminous, 
dispelling  darkness,  appearing  in  the  morning.  Hence 
the  character  of  each  god  is  made  up  of  only  a  few 
essential  qualities  combined  with  many  others  which  are 
common  to  all  the  gods,  such  as  brilliance,  power,  bene- 
ficence, and  wisdom.  These  common  attributes  tend  to 
obscure  those  which  are  distinctive,  because  in  hymns  of 
prayer  and  praise  the  former  naturally  assume  special 
importance.  Again,  gods  belonging  to  different  depart- 
ments of  nature,  but  having  striking  features  in  common, 
are  apt  to  grow  more  like  each  other.  Assimilation  of 
this  kind  is  encouraged  by  a  peculiar  practice  of  the 
Vedic  poets — the  invocation  of  deities  in  pairs.  Such 
combinations  result  in  attributes  peculiar  to  the  one  god 
attaching  themselves  to  the  other,  even  when  the  latter 
appears  alone.  Thus  when  the  Fire-god,  invoked  by 
himself,  is  called  a  slayer  of  the  demon  Vritra,  he  re- 
ceives an  attribute  distinctive  of  the  thunder-god  Indra, 
with  whom  he  is  often  coupled.  The  possibility  of 
assigning  nearly  every  power  to  every  god  rendered  the 


identification  of  one  deity  with  another  an  easy  matter. 
Such  identifications  are  frequent  enough  in  the  Rigveda. 
For  example,  a  poet  addressing  the  fire-god  exclaims: 
"  Thou  at  thy  birth,  O  Agni,  art  Varuna  ;  when  kindled 
thou  becomest  Mitra ;  in  thee,  O  Son  of  Might,  all  gods 
are  centred ;  thou  art  Indra  to  the  worshipper"  (v.  3,  1). 

Moreover,  mystical  speculations  on  the  nature  of 
Agni,  so  important  a  god  in  the  eyes  of  a  priesthood 
devoted  to  a  fire-cult,  on  his  many  manifestations  as  indi- 
vidual fires  on  earth,  and  on  his  other  aspects  as  atmos- 
pheric fire  in  lightning  and  as  celestial  fire  in  the  sun — 
aspects  which  the  Vedic  poets  are  fond  of  alluding  to  in 
riddles — would  suggest  the  idea  that  various  deities  are 
but  different  forms  of  a  single  divine  being.  This  idea  is 
found  in  more  than  one  passage  of  the  later  hymns  of  the 
Rigveda.  Thus  the  composer  of  a  recent  hymn  (164) 
of  the  first  book  says :  "  The  one  being  priests  speak  of 
in  many  ways  ;  they  call  it  Agni,  Yama,  Mataricvan." 
Similarly,  a  seer  of  the  last  book  (x.  114)  remarks: 
"  Priests  and  poets  with  words  make  into  many  the 
bird  {i.e.  the  sun)  which  is  but  one."  Utterances  like 
these  show  that  by  the  end  of  the  Rigvedic  period  the 
polytheism  of  the  Rishis  had  received  a  monotheistic  tinge. 

Occasionally  we  even  find  shadowed  forth  the  pan- 
theistic idea  of  a  deity  representing  not  only  all  the  gods, 
but  Nature  as  well.  Thus  the  goddess  Aditi  is  identified 
with  all  the  deities,  with  men,  with  all  that  has  been  and 
shall  be  born,  with  air,  and  heaven  (i.  89) ;  and  in  a  cos- 
mogonic  hymn  (x.  121)  the  Creator  is  not  only  described 
as  the  one  god  above  all  gods,  but  is  said1  to  embrace  all 
things.  This  germ  of  pantheism  developed  through  the 
later  Vedic  literature  till  it  assumed  its  final  shape  in  the 

1  In  verse  10,  which  is  a  late  addition  ;  see  p.  51,  footnote. 


Vedanta  philosophy,  still  the  most  popular  system  of  the 

The  practice  of  the  poets,  even  in  the  older  parts 
of  the  Rigveday  of  invoking  different  gods  as  if  each 
of  them  were  paramount,  gave  rise  to  Professor  Max 
Muller's  theory  of  Henotheism  or  Kathenotheism,  ac- 
cording to  which  the  seers  held  "the  belief  in  indi- 
vidual gods  alternately  regarded  as  the  highest,"  and 
for  the  moment  treated  the  god  addressed  as  if  he 
were  an  absolutely  independent  and  supreme  deity, 
alone  present  to  the  mind.  In  reality,  however,  the 
practice  of  the  poets  of  the  Rigveda  hardly  amounts 
to  more  than  the  exaggeration — to  be  found  in  the 
Homeric  hymns  also — with  which  a  singer  would  natu- 
rally magnify  the  particular  god  whom  he  is  invoking. 
For  the  Rishis  well  knew  the  exact  position  of  each  god 
in  the  Soma  ritual,  in  which  nearly  every  member  of  the 
pantheon  found  a  place. 

The  gods,  in  the  view  of  the  Vedic  poets,  had  a 
beginning  ;  for  they  are  described  as  the  offspring  of 
"heaven  and  earth,  or  sometimes  of  other  gods.  This 
in  itself  implies  different  generations,  but  earlier  gods 
are  also  expressly  referred  to  in  several  passages.  Nor 
were  the  gods  regarded  as  originally  immortal ;  for  im- 
mortality is  said  to  have  been  bestowed  upon  them 
by  individual  deities,  such  as  Agni  and  Savitri,  or  to 
have  been  acquired  by  drinking  soma.  India  and 
other  gods  are  spoken  of  as  unaging,  but  whether  their 
immortality  was  regarded  by  the  poets  as  absolute  there 
is  no  evidence  to  show.  In  the  post- Vedic  view  it  was 
only  relative,  being  limited  to  a  cosmic  age. 

The  physical  aspect  of  the  Vedic  gods  is  anthropo- 
morphic.     Thus    head,    face,    eyes,    arms,    hands,   fee  , 


and  other  portions  of  the  human  frame  are  ascribed 
to  them.  But  their  forms  are  shadowy  and  their  limbs 
or  parts  are  often  simply  meant  figuratively  to  de- 
scribe their  activities.  Thus  the  tongue  and  limbs  of 
the  fire-god  are  merely  his  flames ;  the  arms  of  the 
sun-god  are  simply  his  rays,  while  his  eye  only  re- 
presents the  solar  orb.  Since  the  outward  shape  of 
the  gods  was  thus  vaguely  conceived,  while  their  con- 
nection with  natural  phenomena  was  in  many  instances 
still  evident,  it  is  easy  to  understand  why  no  mention 
is  made  in  the  Rigveda  of  images  of  the  gods,  still  less 
of  temples,  which  imply  the  existence  of  images.  Idols 
first  begin  to  be  referred  to  in  the  Sutras. 

Some  of  the  gods  appear  equipped  as  warriors, 
wearing  coats  of  mail  and  helmets,  and  armed  with 
spears,  battle-axes,  bows  and  arrows.  They  all  drive 
through  the  air  in  luminous  cars,  generally  drawn  by 
horses,  but  in  some  cases  by  kine,  goats,  or  deer.  In 
their  cars  the  gods  come  to  seat  themselves  at  the  sacrifice, 
which,  however,  is  also  conveyed  to  them  in  heaven  by 
Agni.  They  are  on  the  whole  conceived  as  dwelling  to- 
gether in  harmony  ;  the  only  one  who  ever  introduces  a 
note  of  discord  being  the  warlike  and  overbearing  Indra. 
( To  the  successful  and  therefore  optimistic  Vedic 
Indian,  the  gods  seemed  almost  exclusively  beneficent 
beings,  bestowers  of  long  life  and  prosperity.  Indeed, 
the  only  deity  in  whom  injurious  features  are  at  all  promi- 
nent is  Rudra.  The  lesser  evils  closely  connected  with 
human  life,  such  as  disease,  proceed  from  minor  demons, 
while  the  greater  evils  manifested  in  Nature,  such  as 
drought  and  darkness,  are  produced  by  powerful  demons 
like  Vritra.  The  conquest  of  these  demons  brings  out  all 
the  more  strikingly  the  beneficent  nature  of  the  gods. 


The  character  of  the  Vedic  gods  is  also  moral. 
They  are  "  true "  and  "  not  deceitful/'  being  through- 
out the  friends  and  guardians  of  honesty  and  virtue. 
But  the  divine  morality  only  reflects  the  ethical  stan- 
dard of  an  early  civilisation.  Thus  even  the  alliance  of 
Varuna,  the  most  moral  of  the  gods,  with  righteousness 
is  not  such  as  to  prevent  him  from  employing  craft 
against  the  hostile  and  the  deceitful  man.  Moral  eleva- 
tion is,  on  the  whole,  a  less  prominent  characteristic  of 
the  gods  than  greatness  and  power. 

The  relation  of  the  worshipper  to  the  gods  in  the 
Rigveda  is  in  general  one  of  dependence  on  their  will, 
prayers  and  sacrifices  being  offered  to  win  their  favour 
or  forgiveness.  The  expectation  of  something  in  return 
for  the  offering  is,  however,  frequently  apparent,  and 
the  keynote  of  many  a  hymn  is,  "  I  give  to  thee  that 
thou  mayst  give  to  me."  The  idea  is  also  often  ex- 
pressed that  the  might  and  valour  -of  the  gods  is  pro- 
duced by  hymns,  sacrifices,  and  especially  offerings  of 
soma.  Here  we  find  the  germs  of  sacerdotal  pre- 
tensions which  gradually  increased  during  the  Vedic 
age.  Thus  the  statement  occurs  in  the  White  Yajur- 
veda  that  the  Brahman  who  possesses  correct  know- 
ledge has  the  gods  in  his  power.  The  Brahmanas  go 
a  step  farther  in  saying  that  there  are  two  kinds  of 
gods,  the  Devas  and  the  Brahmans,  the  latter  of  whom 
are  to  be  held  as  deities  among  men.  In  the  Brahmanas, 
too,  the  sacrifice  is  represented  as  all-powerful,  con- 
trolling not  only  the  gods,  but  the  very  processes  of 

The  number  of  the  gods  is  stated  in  the  Rigveda 
itself  to  be  thirty-three,  several  times  expressed  as  thrice 
eleven,  when  each  group  is  regarded  as  corresponding 


to  one  of  the  divisions  of  the  threefold  universe.  This 
aggregate  could  not  always  have  been  deemed  exhaus- 
tive, for  sometimes  other  gods  are  mentioned  in  addition 
to  the  thirty-three.  Nor  can  this  number,  of  course, 
include  various  groups,  such  as  the  storm-gods. 

There  are,  however,  hardly  twenty  individual  deities 
important  enough  in  the  Rigveda  to  have  at  least  three 
entire  hymns  addressed  to  them.  The  most  prominent 
of  these  are  Indra,  the  thunder-god,  with  at  least  250 
hymns,  Agni  with  about  200,  and  Soma  with  over  100 ; 
while  Parjanya,  god  of  rain,  and  Yama,  god  of  the 
dead,  are  invoked  in  only  three  each.  The  rest  occupy 
various  positions  between  these  two  extremes.  It  is 
somewhat  remarkable  that  the  two  great  deities  of 
modern  Hinduism,  Vishnu  and  (Jiva,  who  are  equal 
in  importance,  should  have  been  on  the  same  level, 
though  far  below  (he  leading  deities,  three  thousand 
years  ago,  as  Vishnu  and  Rudra  (the  earlier  form  of 
(Jiva)  in  the  Rigveda.  Even  then  they  show  the  same 
general  characteristics  as  now,  Vishnu  being  specially 
benevolent  and  Rudra  terrible. 

The  oldest  among  the  gods  of  heaven  is  Dyaus  (identi- 
cal with  the  Greek  Zeus).  This  personification  of  the  sky 
as  a  god  never  w7ent  beyond  a  rudimentary  stage  in  the 
Rigveda,  being  almost  entirely  limited  to  the  idea  of 
paternity.  Dyaus  is  generally  coupled  with  Prithivl, 
Earth,  the  pair  being  celebrated  in  six  hymns  as  universal 
parents.  In  a  few  passages  Dyaus  is  called  a  bull,  ruddy 
and  bellowing  downwards,  with  reference  to  the  fertilis- 
ing power  of  rain  no  less  than  to  the  lightning  and 
thundering  heavens.  He  is  also  once  compared  with  a 
black  steed  decked  with  pearls,  in  obvious  allusion  to  the 
nocturnal  star-spangled  sky.    One  poet  describes  this  god 


as  furnished  with  a  bolt,  while  another  speaks  of  him  as 
"Dyaus  smiling  through  the  clouds/'  meaning  the  lighten- 
ing sky.  In  several  other  passages  of  the  Rigveda  the 
verb  "to  smile"  (smi)  alludes  to  lightning,  just  as  in 
classical  Sanskrit  a  smile  is  constantly  compared  with 
objects  of  dazzling  whiteness. 

A  much  more  important  deity  of  the  sky  is  Varunat  in 
whom  the  personification  has  proceeded  so  far  that  the 
natural  phenomenon  which  underlies  it  can  only  be 
inferred  from  traits  in  his  character.  This  obscurity  of 
origin  arises  partly  from  his  not  being  a  creation  of 
Indian  mythology,  but  a  heritage  from  an  earlier  age,  and 
partly  from  his  name  not  at  the  same  time  designating  a 
natural  phenomenon,  like  that  of  Dyaus.  The  word 
varuna-s  seems  to  have  originally  meant  the  "encom- 
passing" sky2  and  is  probably  the  same  word  as  the 
Greek  Ouranos,  though  the  identification  presents  some 
phonetic  difficulties.  ,  Varuna  is  invoked  in  far  fewer 
hymns  than  Indra,  Agni,  or  Soma,  but  he  is  undoubtedly 
the  greatest  of  the  Vedic  gods  by  the  side  of  Indra. 
While  Indra  is  the  great  warrior,  Varuna  is  the  great 
upholder  of  physical  and  moral  order  {ritd).  The  hymns 
addressed  to  him  are  more  ethical  and  devout  in  tone 
than  any  others.  They  form  the  most  exalted  portion 
of  the  Veda,  often  resembling  in  character  the  Hebrew 
psalms.  The  peaceful  sway  of  Varuna  is  explained  by 
his  connection  with  the  regularly  recurring  celestial 
phenomena,  the  course  of  the  heavenly  bodies  seen  in 
the  sky ;  Indra's  warlike  and  occasionally  capricious 
nature  is  accounted  for  by  the  variable  and  uncertain 
strife  of  the  elements  in  the  thunderstorm.  The  charac- 
ter and  power  of  Varuna  may  be  sketched  as  nearly  as 
possible  in  the  words  of  the  Vedic  poets  themselves  as 


follows.  By  the  law  of  Varuna  heaven  and  earth  are 
held  apart.  He  made  the  golden  swing  (the  sun)  to 
shine  in  heaven.  He  has  made  a  wide  path  for  the  sun. 
The  wind  which  resounds  through  the  air  is  Varuna's 
breath.  By  his  ordinances  the  moon  shining  brightly 
moves  at  night,  and  the  stars  placed  up  on  high  are  seen 
at  night  but  disappear  by  day.  He  causes  the  rivers  to 
flow ;  they  stream  unceasingly  according  to  his  ordi- 
nance. By  his  occult  power  the  rivers  swiftly  pouring 
into  the  ocean  do  not  fill  it  with  water.  He  makes  the 
inverted  cask  to  pour  its  waters  and  to  moisten  the 
ground,  while  the  mountains  are  wrapt  in  cloud.  It  is 
chiefly  with  these  aerial  waters  that  he  is  connected, 
very  rarely  with  the  sea. 

Varuna's  omniscience  is  often  dwelt  on.  He  knows 
the  flight  of  the  birds  in  the  sky,  the  path  of  ships  in  the 
ocean,  the  course  of  the  far-travelling  wind.  JHe  beholds 
all  the  secret  things  that  have  been  or  shall  be  done.  He 
witnesses  men's  truth  and  falsehood.  No  creature  can 
even  wink  without  him.  As  a  moral  governor  Varuna 
stands  far  above  any  other  deity.  His  wrath  is  roused 
by  sin,  which  is  the  infringement  of  his  ordinances,  and 
which  he  severely  punishes.  The  fetters  with  which  he 
binds  sinners  are  often  mentioned.  A  dispeller,  hater, 
and  punisher  of  falsehood,  he  is  gracious  to  the  penitent. 
He  releases  men  not  only  from  the  sins  which  they 
themselves  commit,  but  from  those  committed  by  their 
fathers.  He  spares  the  suppliant  who  daily  transgresses 
his  laws,  and  is  gracious  to  those  who  have  broken  his 
ordinances  by  thoughtlessness.  There  is,  in  fact,  no 
hymn  to  Varuna  in  which  the  prayer  for  forgiveness  of 
guilt  does  not  occur,  as  in  the  hymns  to  other  deities 
the  prayer  for  worldly  goods. 

VARU  N  A— M ITR  A— S  U  R  Y  A  77 

With  the  growth  of,  the  conception  of  the  creator, 
Prajapati,  as  a  supreme  deity,  the  characteristics  of 
Varuna  as  a  sovereign  god  naturally  faded  away,  and  the 
dominion  of  waters,  only  a  part  of  his  original  sphere, 
alone  remained.  This  is  already  partly  the  case  in  the 
Atharva-veday  and  in  post-Vedic  mythology  he  is  only  an 
Indian  Neptune,  god  of  the  sea. 

The  following  stanzas  from  a  hymn  to  Varuna  (vii. 
89)  will  illustrate  the  spirit  of  the  prayers  addressed  to 
him : — 

May  I  not  yet,  King  Varuna, 
Go  down  into  the  house  of  day  : 
Have  mercy,  spare  me,  mighty  Lord. 

Thirst  has  come  on  thy  worshipper 
Though  standing  in  the  water  J  midst :  x 
Have  mercy,  spare  me,  mighty  Lord. 

O  Varuna,  whatever  the  offence  may  be 
That  we  as  men  commit  against  the  heavenly  folk 
When  through  our  want  of  thought  we  violate  thy  laws, 
Chastise  us  not,  O  God,  for  that  iniquity. 

There  are  in  the  Rigveda  five  solar  deities,  differen- 
tiated as  representing  various  aspects  of  the  activity  of 
the  sun.  One  of  the  oldest  of  these,  Mitra,  the  "  Friend," 
seems  to  have  been  conceived  as  the  beneficent  side  of 
the  sun's  power.  Going  back  to  the  Indo-Iranian  period, 
he  has  in  the  Rigveda  almost  entirely  lost  his  individuality, 
which  is  practically  merged  in  that  of  Varuna.  With  the 
latter  he  is  constantly  invoked,  while  only  one  single 
hymn  (iii.  59)  is  addressed  to  him  alone. 

Surya  (cognate  in  name  to  the  Greek  Helios)  is  the 
most  concrete  of  the  solar  deities.  For  as  his  name  also 
designates  the  luminary  itself,  his  connection  with  the 

1  A  reference  to  dropsy,  with  which  Varuna  is  thought  to  afflict  sinners. 


latter  is  never  lost  sight  of.  The  eye  of  Surya  is  often 
mentioned,  and  Dawn  is  said  to  bring  the  eye  of  the 
gods.  All-seeing,  he  is  the  spy  of  the  whole  world, 
beholding  all  beings  and  the  good  or  bad  deeds  of 
mortals.  Aroused  by  Surya,  men  pursue  their  objects 
and  perform  their  work.  He  is  the  soul  or  guardian  of 
all  that  moves  and  is  fixed.  He  rides  in  a  car,  which  is 
generally  described  as  drawn  by  seven  steeds.  These  he 
unyokes  at  sunset : — 

When  he  has  loosed  his  coursers  from  their  station, 
Straightway  Night  over  all  spreads  out  her  garment  (i.  1 1 5,  4). 

Surya  rolls  up  the  darkness  like  a  skin,  and  the  stars 
slink  away  like  thieves.  He  shines  forth  from  the  lap 
of  the  dawns.  He  is  also  spoken  of  as  the  husband 
of  Dawn.  As  a  form  of  Agni,  the  gods  placed  him 
in  heaven.  He  is  often  described  as  a  bird  or  eagle 
traversing  space.  He  measures  the  days  and  prolongs 
life.  He  drives  away  disease  and  evil  dreams.  At  his 
rising  he  is  prayed  to  declare  men  sinless  to  Mitra  and 
Varuna.  All  beings  depend  on  Surya,  and  so  he  is  called 

Eleven  hymns,  or  about  the  same  number  as  to 
Surya,  are  addressed  to  another  solar  deity,  Savitri,  the 
"  Stimulates,"  who  represents  the  quickening  activity  of 
the  sun.  He  is  pre-eminently  a  golden  deity,  with  golden 
hands  and  arms  and  a  golden  car.  He  raises  aloft  his 
strong  golden  arms,  with  which  he  blesses  and  arouses 
all  beings,  and  which  extend  to  the  ends  of  the  earth. 
He  moves  in  his  golden  car,  seeing  all  creatures,  on  a 
downward  and  an  upward  path.  He  shines  after  the 
path  of  the  dawn.  Beaming  with  the  rays  of  the  sun, 
yellow-haired,  Savitri  raises  up  his  light  continually  from 


the  east.  He  removes  evil  dreams  and  drives  away 
demons  and  sorcerers.  He  bestows  immortality  on  the 
gods  as  well  as  length  of  life  on  man.  He  also -conducts 
the  departed  spirit  to  where  the  righteous  dwell.  The 
other  gods  follow  Savitri's  lead  ;  no  being,  not  even  the 
most  powerful  gods,  Indra  and  Varuna,  can  resist  his 
will  and  independent  sway.  Savitri  is  not  infrequently 
connected  with  the  evening,  being  in  oq,e  hymn  (ii.  38) 
extolled  as  the  setting  sun  : — 

Borne  by  swift  coursers,  he  will  now  unyoke  them  : 
The  speeding  chariot  he  has  stayed  from  going. 
He  checks  the  speed  of  them  that  glide  like  serpents  : 
Night  has  come  on  by  Savitri's  commandment. 
The  weaver  rolls  her  outstretched  web  together, 
The  skilled  lay  down  their  work  in  midst  of  toiling^ 
The  birds  all  seek  their  nests,  their  shed  the  cattle  : 
Each  to  his  lodging  Savitri  disperses. 

To  this  god  is  addressed  the  most  famous  stanza  of 
the  Rigveda,  with  which,  as  the  Stimulator,  he  was  in 
ancient  times  invoked  at  the  beginning  of  Vedic  study, 
and  which  is  still  repeated  by  every  orthodox  Hindu  in 
his  morning  prayers.  From  the  name  of  the  deity  it  is 
called  the  Savitri ,  but  it  is  also  often  referred  to  as  "  the 
Gdyatrl"  from  the  metre  in  which  it  is  composed  : — 

May  we  attain  that  excellent 

Glory  of  Savitri  the  god, 

That  he  may  stimulate  our  thoughts  (iii.  62,  10). 

A  peculiarity  of  the  hymns  to  Savitri  is  the  perpetual 
play  on  his  name  with  forms  of  the  root  sut  "to  stimu- 
late," from  which  it  is  derived. 

Pushan  is  invoked  in  some  eight  hymns  of  the 
Rigveda.     His  name  means  "  Prosperer,"  and  the  con- 


ception  underlying  his  character  seems  to  be  the  bene- 
ficent power  of  the  sun,  manifested  chiefly  as  a  pastoral 
deity.  His  car  is  drawn  by  goats  and  he  carries  a  goad. 
Knowing  the  ways  of  heaven,  he  conducts  the  dead 
on  the  far  path  to  the  fathers.  He  is  also  a  guardian 
of  roads,  protecting  cattle  and  guiding  them  with  his 
goad.  The  welfare  which  he  bestows  results  from  the 
protection  he  extends  to  men  and  cattle  on  earth,  and 
from  his  guidance  of  mortals  to  the  abodes  of  bliss  in 
the  next  world. 

Judged  by  a  statistical  standard,  Vishnu  is  only  a  deity 
of  the  fourth  rank,  less  frequently  invoked  than  Surya, 
Savitri,  and  Ptishan  in  the  Rigveda,  but  historically  he 
is  the  most  important  of  the  solar  deities.  For  he  is  one 
of  the  two  great  gods  of  modern  Hinduism.  The 
essential  feature  of  his  character  is  that  he  takes  three 
strides,  which  doubtless  represent  the  course  of  the  sun 
through  the  three  divisions  of  the  universe.  His  highest 
step  is  heaven,  where  the  gods  and  the  fathers  dwell. 
For  this  abode  the  poet  expresses  his  longing  in  the 
following  words  (i.  154,  5)  : — 

May  I  attain  to  that,  his  well-loved  dwelling, 
Where  me?i  devoted  to  the  gods  are  blessed: 

In  Vis/mu's  highest  step — he  is  our  kinsman, 
Of  mighty  stride — there  is  a  spring  of  nectar. 

Vishnu  seems  to  have  been  originally  conceived  as 
the  sun,  not  in  his  general  character,  but  as  the  per- 
sonified swiftly  moving  luminary  which  with  vast  strides 
traverses  the  three  worlds.  He  is  in  several  passages 
said  to  have  taken  his  three  steps  for  the  benefit  of 

To    this    feature    may   be    traced    the    myth    of   the 


Brahmanas  in  which  Vishnu  appears  in  the  form  of  a 
dwarf  as  an  artifice  to  recover  the  earth,  now  in  the 
possession  of  demons,  by  taking  his  three  strides.  His 
character  for  benevolence  was  in  post-Vedic  mytho- 
logy developed  in  the  doctrine  of  the  Avatars  ("  descents  " 
to  earth)  or  incarnations  which  he  assumed  for  the  good 
of  humanity. 

Ushas,  goddess  of  dawn,  is  almost  the  only  female 
deity  to  whom  entire  hymns  are  addressed,  and  the  only 
one  invoked  with  any  frequency.  She,  however,  is  cele- 
brated in  some  twenty  hymns.  The  name,  meaning  the 
"Shining  One,"  is  cognate  to  the  Latin  Aurora  and 
the  Greek  Eos.  When  the  goddess  is  addressed,  the 
physical  phenomenon  of  dawn  is  never  absent  from 
the  poet's  mind.  The  fondness  with  which  the  thoughts 
of  these  priestly  singers  turned  to  her  alone  among 
the  goddesses,  though  she  received  no  share  in  the 
offering  of  soma  like  the  other  gods,  seems  to  show 
that  the  glories  of  the  dawn,  more  splendid  in  Northern 
India  than  those  we  are  wont  to  see,  deeply  impressed 
the  minds  of  these  early  poets.  In  any  case,  she  is 
their  most  graceful  creation,  the  charm  of  which  is 
unsurpassed  in  the  descriptive  religious  lyrics  of  any 
other  literature.  Here  there  are  no  priestly  subtleties 
to  obscure  the  brightness  of  her  form,  and  few  allu- 
sions to  the  sacrifice  to  mar  the  natural  beauty  of  the 

To  enable  the  reader  to  estimate  the  merit  of  this 
poetry  I  will  string  together  some  utterances  about 
the  Dawn  goddess,  culled  from  various  hymns,  and 
expressed  as  nearly  as  possible  in  the  words  of  their 
composers.  Ushas  is  a  radiant  maiden,  born  in  the 
sky,  daughter   of   Dyaus.     She   is   the   bright   sister   of 


dark  Night.  She  shines  with  the  light  of  her  lover, 
with  the  light  of  Surya,  who  beams  after  her  path  and 
follows  her  as  a  young  man  a  maiden.  She  is  borne  on 
a  brilliant  car,  drawn  by  ruddy  steeds  or  kine.  Arraying 
herself  in  gay  attire  like  a  dancer,  she  displays  her  bosom. 
Clothed  upon  with  light,  the  maiden  appears  in  the  east 
and  unveils  her  charms.  Rising  resplendent  as  from 
a  bath,  she  shows  her  form.  Effulgent  in  peerless 
beauty,  she  withholds  her  light  from  neither  small  nor 
great.  She  opens  wide  the  gates  of  heaven  ;  she  opens 
the  doors  of  darkness,  as  the  cows  (issue  from)  their 
stall.  Her  radiant  beams  appear  like  herds  of  cattle. 
She  removes  the  black  robe  of  night,  warding  off  evil 
spirits  and  the  hated  darkness.  She  awakens  creatures 
that  have  feet,  and  makes  the  birds  fly  up  :  she  is 
the  breath  and  life  of  everything.  When  Ushas  shines 
forth,  the  birds  fly  up  from  their  nests  and  men  seek 
nourishment.  She  is  the  radiant  mover  of  sweet,  sounds, 
the  leader  of  the  charm  of  pleasant  voices.  Day  by 
day  appearing  at  the  appointed  place,  she  never  in- 
fringes the  rule  of  order  and  of  the  gods ;  she  goes 
straight  along  the  path  of  order;  knowing  the  way, 
she  never  loses  her  direction.  ,  As  she  shone  in  former 
days,  so  she  shines  now  and  will  shine  in  future,  never 
aging,  immortal. 

The  solitude  and  stillness  of  the  early  morning  some- 
times suggested  pensive  thoughts  about  the  fleeting 
nature  of  human  life  in  contrast  with  the  unending 
recurrence  of  the  dawn.     Thus  one  poet  exclaims  : — 

Gone  are  the  mortals  who  informer  ages 
Beheld  the  flushing  of  the  earlier  morning. 
We  living  men  now  look  upo?i  her  shining; 
They  are  coming  who  shall  in  future  see  her  (i.  113,  11). 


In  a  similar  strain  another  Rishi  sings  : — 

Again  and  again  newly  born  though  ancient, 

Decking  her  beauty  with  the  self-same  colours, 

The  goddess  wastes  away  the  life  of  mortals, 

Like  wealth  diminished  by  the  skilful  player  (i.  92,  10). 

The  following  stanzas  from  one  of  the  finest  hymns 
to  Dawn  (i.  113)  furnish  a  more  general  picture  of  this 
fairest  creation  of  Vedic  poetry  : — 

This  light  has  come,  of  all  the  lights  the  fairest, 
The  brilliant  brightness  has  been  born,  far-shining. 
Urged  onward  for  god  SavitrPs  uprising, 
Night  now  has  yielded  up  her  place  to  Morning. 

The  sisters''  pathway  is  the  same,  unending : 
Taught  by  the  gods,  alternately  they  tread  it. 
Fair-shaped,  of  differe?it  forms  and  yet  one-minded^ 
Night  and  Morning  clash  not,  nor  do  they  linger. 

Bright  leader  of  glad  sounds,  she  shines  effulgent : 
Widely  she  has  unclosed  for  us  her  portals. 
Arousing  all  the  world,  she  shows  us  riches  : 
Daw7i  has  awakened  every  living  creature. 

There  Heaven's  Daughter  has  appeared  before  us, 
The  maiden  flushing  in  her  brilliant  garments. 
Thou  sovran  lady  of  all  earthly  treasure, 
Auspicious  Dawn,  flush  here  to-day  upon  us. 

In  the  sky 's  framework  she  has  shone  with  splendour  j 
The  goddess  has  cast  off  the  robe  of  darkness. 
Wakening  up  the  world  with  ruddy  horses, 
Upon  her  well-yoked  chariot  Daw?i  is  coming. 

Bringing  upon  it  many  bounteous  blessings, 
Brightly  shining,  she  spreads  her  brilliant  lustre. 
Last  of  the  countless  mornings  that  have  go?ie  by, 
First  of  bright  ?norns  to  come  has  Dawn  arisen. 

Arise  !  the  breath,  the  life,  again  has  reached  us  : 
Darkness  has  gone  away  and  light  is  coming. 
She  leaves  a  pathway  for  the  sun  to  travel : 
We  have  arrived  where  men  prolong  existence. 


Among  the  deities  of  celestial  light,  those  most  fre- 
quently invoked  are  the  twin  gods  of  morning  named 
Acvins.  They  are  the  sons  of  Heaven,  eternally  young 
and  handsome.  They  ride  on  a  car,  on  which  they  are 
accompanied  by  the  sun-maiden  Surya.  This  car  is 
bright  and  sunlike,  and  all  its  parts  are  golden.  The 
time  when  these  gods  appear  is  the  early  dawn,  when 
"  darkness  still  stands  among  the  ruddy  cows."  At  the 
yoking  of  their  car  Ushas  is  born. 

Many  myths  are  told  about  the  Acvins  as  succour- 
ing divinities.  They  deliver  from  distress  in  general, 
especially  rescuing  from  the  ocean  in  a  ship  or  ships. 
They  are  characteristically  divine  physicians,  who  give 
sight  to  the  blind  and  make  the  lame  to  walk.  One 
very  curious  myth  is  that  of  the  maiden  Vi^pala,  who 
having  had  her  leg  cut  off  in  some  conflict,  was  at 
once  furnished  by  the  Acvins  with  an  iron  limb.  They 
agree  in  many  respects  with  the  two  famous  horsemen 
of  Greek  mythology,  the  Dioskouroi,  sons  of  Zeus  and 
brothers  of  Helen.  The  two  most  probable  theories 
as  to  the  origin  of  these  twin  deities  are,  that  they 
represent  either  the  twilight,  half  dark,  half  light,  or  the 
morning  and  evening  star. 

In  the  realm  of  yair  Indra  is  the  dominant  deity.  He 
is,  indeed,  the  favourite  and  national  god  of  the  Vedic 
Indian.  His  importance  is  sufficiently  indicated  by  the 
fact  that  more  than  one-fourth  of  the  Rigveda  is  devoted 
to  his  praise.  Handed  down  from  a  bygone  age,  Indra 
has  become  more  anthropomorphic  and  surrounded  by 
mythological  imagery  than  any  other  Vedic  god.  The 
significance  of  his  character  is  nevertheless  sufficiently 
clear.  He  is  primarily  the  thunder-god,  the  conquest 
of  the  demon  of  drought  or  darkness  named  Vritra,  the 

INDRA  85 

"  Obstructor,"  and  the  consequent  liberation  of  the  waters 
or  the  winning  of  light,  forming  his  mythological  essence. 
This  myth  furnishes  the  Rishis  with  an  ever-recurring 
theme.  Armed  with  his  thunderbolt,  exhilarated  by 
copious  draughts  of  soma,  and  generally  escorted  by 
the  Maruts  or  Storm-gods,  Indra  enters  upon  the  fray. 
The  conflict  is  terrible.  Heaven  and  earth  tremble 
with  fear  when  Indra  smites  Vritra  like  a  tree  with  his 
bolt.  He  is  described  as  constantly  repeating  the  combat. 
This  obviously  corresponds  to  the  perpetual  renewal 
of  the  natural  phenomena  underlying  the  myth.  The 
physical  elements  in  the  thunderstorm  are  seldom  directly 
mentioned  by  the  poets  when  describing  the  exploits 
of  Indra.  He  is  rarely  said  to  shed  rain,  but  constantly 
to  release  the  pent-up  waters  or  rivers.  The  lightning 
is  regularly  the  "  bolt,"  while  thunder  is  the  lowing  of 
the  cows  or  the  roaring  of  the  dragon.  The  clouds  are 
designated  by  various  names,  such  as  cow,  udder,  spring, 
cask,  or  pail.  They  are  also  rocks  (adri),  which  en- 
compass the  cows  set  free  by  Indra.  They  are  further 
mountains  from  which  Indra  casts  down  the  demons 
dwelling  upon  them.  They  thus  often  become  fortresses 
(pur)  of  the  demons,  which  are  ninety,  ninety-nine,  or 
a  hundred  in  number,  and  are  variously  described  as 
"  moving,"  "  autumnal,"  "  made  of  iron  or  stone."  One 
stanza  (x.  89,  7)  thus  brings  together  the  various  features 
of  the  myth  :  "  Indra  slew  Vritra,  broke  the  castles,  made 
a  channel  for  the  rivers,  pierced  the  mountain,  and 
delivered  over  the  cows  to  his  friends."  Owing  to  the 
importance  of  the  Vritra  myth,  the  chief  and  specific 
epithet  of  Indra  is  Vritrahan,  "slayer  of  Vritra."  The 
following  stanzas  are  from  one  of  the  most  graphic  of  the 


hymns  which  celebrate  the  conflict  of   Indra  with  the 
demon  (i.  32) : — 

I  will  proclaim  the  manly  deeds  of  Indra, 
The  first  that  he  performed,  the  lightning-wielder. 
He  sinote  the  dragon,  then  discharged  the  waters, 
And  clef t  the  caverns  of  the  lofty  mountains. 

Impetuous  as  a  bull,  he  chose  the  soma, 

And  drank  in  threefold  vessels  of  its  juices. 

The  Bowiteous  god  grasped  lightning  for  his  missile, 

He  struck  down  dead  that  Jirst-bor?i  of  the  dragons. 

Him  lightning  then  availed  naught,  nor  thunder, 
Nor  mist  nor  hailstorm  which  he  spread  around  hi?n  ; 
When  Indra  and  the  dragon  strove  in  battle, 
The  Bounteous  god  gained  victory  for  ever. 

Plunged  in  the  miast  of  never-ceasing  torrents, 
That  stand  not  still  but  ever  hasten  07tward, 
The  waters  bear  off  Vritrds  hidden  body  : 
Indrds  fierce  foe  sank  down  to  lasting  darkness. 


With  the  liberation  of  the  waters  is  connected  the 
winning  of  light  and  the  sun.  Thus  we  read  that  when 
Indra  had  slain  the  dragon  Vritra  with  his  bolt,  releasing 
the  waters  for  man,  he  placed  the  sun  visibly  in  the 
heavens,  or  that  the  sun  shone  forth  when  Indra  blew 
the  dragon  from  the  air. 

Indra  naturally  became  the  god  of  battle,  and  is  more 
frequently  invoked  than  any  other  deity  as  a  helper  in 
conflicts  with  earthly  enemies.  In  the  words  of  one  poet, 
he  protects  the  Aryan  colour  (yarnd)  and  subjects  the 
black  skin ;  while  another  extols  him  for  having  dis- 
persed 50,000  of  the  black  race  and  rent  their  citadels. 
His  combats  are  frequently  called  gavishti,  "desire  of 
cows,"  his  gifts  being  considered  the  result  of  victories. 

The  following  stanzas  (ii.  12,  2  and  13)  will  serve  as  a 


specimen  of  the  way  in  which  the  greatness  of  Indra 
is  celebrated  : — 

Who  made  the  widespread  earth  when  quaking  steadfast^ 
Who  brought  to  rest  the  agitated  mountains, 
Who  measured  out  air's  intermediate  spaces, 
Who  gave  the  sky  support :  he,  men,  is  Indra. 

Heaven  and  earth  themselves  bow  down  before  him, 
Before  his  might  the  very  mountains  tremble. 
Who,  known  as  Soma-drinker,  aj-med  with  lightning, 
Is  wielder  of  the  bolt :  he,  men,  is  Indra. 

To  the  more  advanced  anthropomorphism  of  Indra's 
nature  are  due  the  occasional  immoral  traits  which  ap- 
pear in  his  character.  Thus  he  sometimes  indulges  in 
acts  of  capricious  violence,  such  as  the  slaughter  of 
his  father  or  the  destruction  of  the  car  of  Dawn.  He  is 
especially  addicted  to  soma,  of  which  he  is  described  as 
drinking  enormous  quantities  to  stimulate  him  in  the 
performance  of  his  warlike  exploits.  One  entire  hymn 
(x.  119)  consists  of  a  monologue  in  which  Indra,  in- 
ebriated with  soma,  boasts  of  his  greatness  and  power. 
Though  of  little  poetic  merit,  this  piece  has  a  special 
interest  as  being  by  far  the  earliest  literary  description 
of  the  mental  effects,  braggadocio  in  particular,  pro- 
duced by  intoxication.  In  estimating  the  morality  of 
Indra's  excesses,  it  should  not  be  forgotten  that  the  ex- 
hilaration of  soma  partook  of  a  religious  character  in 
the  eyes  of  the  Vedic  poets. 

Indra's  name  is  found  in  the  Avesta  as  that  of  a 
demon.  His  distinctive  Vedic  epithet,  Vritrahan,  also 
occurs  there  in  the  form  of  verethraghna,  as  a  designa- 
tion of  the  god  of  victory.  Hence  there  was  probably 
in  the  Indo-Iranian  period  a  god  approaching  to  the 
Vedic  form  of  the  Vritra-slaying  and  victorious  Indra. 


In  comparing  historically  Varuna  and  Indra,  whose 
importance  was  about  equal  in  the  earlier  period  of  the 
Rigveday  it  seems  clear  that  Varuna  was  greater  in  the 
Indo-Iranian  period,  but  became  inferior  to  Indra  in 
later  Vedic  times.  Indra,  on  the  other  hand,  became  in 
the  Brahmanas  and  Epics  the  chief  of  the  Indian  heaven, 
and  even  maintained  this  position  under  the  Puranic 
triad,  Brahma-Vishnu-£iva,  though  of  course  subordi- 
nate to  them. 

At  least  three  of  the  lesser  deities  of  the  air  are  con- 
nected with  lightning.  One  of  these  is  the  somewhat 
obscure  god  Trita,  who  is  only  mentioned  in  detached 
verses  of  the  Rigveda,  The  name  appears  to  designate 
the  "  third  "  (Greek,  trito-s)}  as  the  lightning  form  of  fire. 
His  frequent  epithet,  Aptyay  seems  to  mean  the  "  watery." 
This  god  goes  back  to  the  Indo-Iranian  period,  as  both 
his  name  and  his  epithet  are  found  in  the  Avesta.  But 
he  was  gradually  ousted  by  Indra  as  being  originally 
almost  identical  in  character  with  the  latter.  Another 
deity  of  rare  occurrence  in  the  Rigveda,  and  also  dating 
from  the  Indo-Iranian  period,  is  Apam  napat,  the  "  Son 
of  Waters."  He  is  described  as  clothed  in  lightning  and 
shining  without  fuel  in  the  waters.  There  can,  therefore, 
be  little  doubt  that  he  represents  fire  as  produced  from 
the  rain-clouds  in  the  form  of  lightning.  Mataricvan, 
seldom  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda,  is  a  divine  being  de- 
scribed as  having,  like  the  Greek  Prometheus,  brought 
down  the  hidden  fire  from  heaven  to  earth.  He  most 
probably  represents  the  personification  of  a  celestial 
form  of  Agni,  god  of  fire,  with  whom  he  is  in  some 
passages  actually  identified.  In  the  later  Vedas,  the 
Brahmanas,  and  the  subsequent  literature,  the  name 
has  become  simply  a  designation  of  wind. 


The  position  occupied  by  the  god  Rudra  in  the 
Rigveda  is  very  different  from  that  of  his  historical  suc- 
cessor in  a  later  age.  He  is  celebrated  ill  only  three 
or  four  hymns,  while  his  name  is  mentioned  slightly  less 
often  than  that  of  Vishnu.  He  is  usually  said  to  be 
armed  with  bow  and  arrows,  but  a  lightning  shaft  and 
a  thunderbolt  are  also  occasionally  assigned  to  him.  He 
is  described  as  fierce  and  destructive  like  a  wild  beast, 
and  is  called  "the  ruddy  boar  of  heaven."  The  hymns 
addressed  to  him  chiefly  express  fear  of  his  terrible 
shafts  and  deprecation  of  his  wrath.  His  malevolence 
is  still  more  prominent  in  the  later  Vedic  literature.  The 
euphemistic  epithet  £zva,  "auspicious,"  already  applied 
to  him  in  the  Rigveda,  and  more  frequently,  though  not 
exclusively,  in  the  younger  Vedas,  became  his  regular 
name  in  the  post- Vedic  period.  Rudra  is,  of  course,  not 
purely  malevolent  like  a  demon.  He  is  besought  not 
only  to  preserve  from  calamity  but  to  bestow  blessings 
and  produce  welfare  for  man  and  beast.  His  healing 
powers  are  mentioned  with  especial  frequency,  and  he 
is  lauded  as  the  greatest  of  physicians. 

Prominent  among  the  gods  of  the  Rigveda  are  the 
Maruts  or  Storm-gods,  who  form  a  group  of  thrice 
seven  or  thrice  sixty.  They  are  the  sons  of  Rudra 
and  the  mottled  cloud-cow  Pricni.  At  birth  they  are 
compared  with  fires,  and  are  once  addressed  as  "born 
from  the  laughter  of  lightning."  They  are  a  troop  of 
youthful  warriors  armed  with  spears  or  battle-axes  and 
wearing  helmets  upon  their  heads.  They  are  decked 
with  golden  ornaments,  chiefly  in  the  form  of  armlets 
or  of  anklets  : — 

They  gleam  with  armlets  as  the  heavens  are  decked  with  stars; 
Like  cloud- born  lightnings  shine  the  torrents  of  their  rain  (ii.  34,  2). 


They  ride  on  golden  cars  which  gleam  with  lightning, 
while  they  hold  fiery  lightnings  in  their  hands  : — 

The  lightnings  smile  upon  the  earth  below  them 
What  time  the  Maruts  sprinkle  forth  their  fatness. 

— (i.  1 68,  8). 

They  drive  with  coursers  which  are  often  described  as 
spotted,  and  they  are  once  said  to  have  yoked  the 
winds  as  steeds  to  their  pole. 

The  Maruts  are  fierce  and  terrible,  like  lions  or 
wild  boars.  With  the  fellies  of  their  car  they  rend 
the  hills  :— 

The  Maruts  spread  the  mist  abroad, 

And  make  the  mountains  rock  and  reel, 

When  with  the  winds  they  go  their  way  (viii.  7,  4). 

They  shatter  the  lords  of  the  forest  and  like  wild 
elephants  devour  the  woods  : — 

Before  you,  fierce  ones,  even  woods  bow  down  in  fear, 
The  earth  herself,  the  very  ?nountain  trembles  (v.  60,  2). 

One  of  their  main  functions  is  to  shed  rain.  They 
are  clad  in  a  robe  of  rain,  and  cover  the  eye  of  the 
sun  with  showers.  They  bedew  the  earth  with  milk ; 
they  shed  fatness  (ghee)  ;  they  milk  the  thundering, 
the  never-failing  spring;  they  wet  the  earth  with  mead; 
they  pour  out  the  heavenly  pail  : — 

The  rivers  echo  to  their  chariot  fellies 

What  time  they  utter  forth  the  voice  of  rain-clouds. 

— (i.  168,  8). 

In  allusion  to  the  sound  of  the  winds  the  Maruts 
are  often  called  singers,  and  as  such  aid  Indra  in  his 
fight  with  the  demon.  They  are,  indeed,  his  constant 
associates  in  all  his  celestial  conflicts. 

The  God   of  Wind,  called   Vayu  or   Vata,  is  not  a 


prominent  deity  in  the  Rigveda,  having  only  three  entire 
hymns  addressed  to  him.  The  personification  is  more 
developed  under  the  name  of.  Vayu,  who  is  mostly 
associated  with  India,  while  Vata  is  coupled  only  with 
♦the^  li^,  anthropomorphic  rain-god,  Parjanya.  Vayu  is 
swift  as  thought  and^tfias  roaring  velocity.  He  has 
a  shining  car  drawn  by  a  team  or  a. .pair  of  ruddy 
steeds.  On  this  car,  which  has  a  golden  seat  and 
touches  the  sky,  Indra  is  his  companion.  Vata,  as  also 
the  ordinary  designation  of  wind,  is  celebrated  in  a 
more  concrete  manner.  His  name  is  often  connected 
with  the  verb  vdf  "to  blow,"  from  which  it  is  derived. 
Like  Rudra,  he  wafts  healing  and  prolongs  life ;  for  he 
has  the  treasure  of  immortality  in  his  house.  The  poet 
of  a  short  hynm  (x.  168)  devoted  to  his  praise  thus 
describes  him : — 

Of  Vdta's  car  I  now  will  praise  the  greatness  : 
Crashing  it  speeds  alo?igj  its  noise  is  thunder. 
Touching  the  sky,  it  goes  on  causing  lightnings  j 
Scattering  the  dust  of  ea7'th  it  hurries  forward. 

In  air  upon  his  pathways  hastening  onward, 

Never  on  any  day  he  tarries  resting. 

The  first-born  order-loving  friend  of  waters, 

Where,  pray,  was  he  bor?i  ?  say,  whence  came  he  hither? 

The  soul  of  gods,  and  of  the  world  the  offspring, 
This  god  according  to  his  liki?ig  wanders. 
His  sound  is  heard,  but  ne^er  is  see?i  his  figure. 
This  Vata  let  us  now  with  offerings  worship. 

Another  deity  of  air  is  Parjanya,  god  of  rain,  who 
is  invoked  in  but  three  hymns,  and  is  only  mentioned 
some  thirty  times  in  the  Rigveda.  The  name  in  several 
passages  still  means  simply  "rain-cloud."  The  per- 
sonification is  therefore  always  closely  connected  with 


the  phenomenon  of  the  rain-storm,  in  which  the  rain- 
cloud  itself  becomes  an  udder,  a  pail,  or  a  water-skin. 
Often  likened  to  a  bull,  Parjanya  is  characteristically  a 
shedder  of  rain.  His  activity  is  described  in  very  vivid 
strains  (v.  83)  : — 

The  trees  he  strikes  to  earth  atid  smites  the  demon  crew  : 
The  whole  world  fears  the  wielder  of  the  mighty  bolt 
The  guiltless  man  himself  flees  fro?n  the  potent  god, 
What  time  Parjanya  thundering  smites  the  iniscreant. 

Like  a  car- driver  urging  on  his  steeds  with  whips, 
He  causes  to  bound  forth  the  messengers  of  rain. 
From  far  away  the  liorfs  roar  reverberates, 
What  time  Parjanya  fills  the  atmosphere  with  rain. 

Forth  blow  the  winds,  to  earth  the  lightning  flashes  fall, 
Up  shoot  the  herbs,  the  realm  of  light  with  moisture  streams  j 
Nourishment  in  abundance  springs  for  all  the  world, 
What  time  Parjanya  quickeneth  the  earth  with  seed. 

Thunder  and  roar  :  the  vital  germ  deposit  / 
With  water-bearing  chariot  fly  around  us  / 
Thy  water-skin  unloosed  to  earth  draw  downward : 
With  moisture  make  the  heights  and  hollows  equal ! 

The  Waters  are  praised  as  goddesses  in  four  hymns  of 
the  Rigveda.  The  personification,  however,  hardly  goes 
beyond  representing  them  as  mothers,  young  wives,  and 
goddesses  who  bestow  boons  and  come  to  the  sacrifice. 
As  mothers  they  produce  Agni,  whose  lightning  form  is,  as 
we  have  seen,  called  Apam  Napat,  "  Son  of  Waters."  The 
divine  waters  bear  away  defilement,  and  are  even  invoked 
to  cleanse  from  moral  guilt,  the  sins  of  violence,  cursing, 
and  lying.  They  bestow  remedies,  healing,  long  life,  and 
immortality.  Soma  delights  in  the  waters  as  a  young 
man  in  lovely  maidens ;  he  approaches  them  as  a  lover ; 
they  are  maidens  who  bow  down  before  the  youth. 

Several  rivers  are  personified  and  invoked  as  deities 


in  the  Rigveda.  One  hymn  (x.  75)  celebrates  the  Sindhu 
or  Indus,  while  another  (iii.  33)  sings  the  praises  of  the 
sister  streams  Vipac  and  Cutudri.  SarasvatI  is,  however, 
the  most  important  river  goddess,  being  lauded  in  three 
entire  hymns  as  well  as  in  many  detached  verses.  The 
personification  here  goes  much  further  than  in  the  case 
of  other  streams  ;  but  the  poets  never  lose  sight  of  the 
connection  of  the  goddess  with  the  river.  She  is  the 
best  of  mothers,  of  rivers,  and  of  goddesses.  Her  unfail- 
ing breast  yields  riches  of  every  kind,  and  she  bestows 
wealth,  plenty,  nourishment,  and  offspring.  One  poet 
prays  that  he  may  not  be  removed  from  her  to  fields 
which  are  strange.  She  is  invoked  to  descend  from  the 
sky,  from  the  great  mountain,  to  the  sacrifice.  Such 
expressions  may  have  suggested  the  notion  of  the 
celestial  origin  and  descent  of  the  Ganges,  familiar  to 
post-Vedic  mythology.  Though  simply  a  river  deity  in 
the  Rigveda,  SarasvatI  is  in  the  Brahmanas  identified 
with  Vach,  goddess  of  speech,  and  has  in  post-Vedic 
mythology  become  the  goddess  of  eloquence  and  wisdom, 
invoked  as  a  muse,  and  regarded  as  the  wife  of  Brahma. 
Earth,  Prithivl,  the  Broad  One,  hardly  ever  dissoci- 
ated from  Dyaus,  is  celebrated  alone  in  only  one  short 
hymn  of  three  stanzas  (v.  84).  Even  here  the  poet  can- 
not refrain  from  introducing  references  to  her  heavenly 
spouse  as  he  addresses  the  goddess, 

Who,  firmly  fixt,  the  forest  trees 
With  might  supportest  in  the  ground: 
When  from  the  lightning  of  thy  cloud 
The  rain-floods  of  the  sky  pour  down. 

The  personification  is  only  rudimentary,  the  attributes 
of  the  goddess  being  chiefly  those  of  the  physical  earth. 
The  most  important  of  the  terrestrial  deities  is  Agni, 


god  of  fire.  Next  to  Indra  he  is  the  most  prominent 
of  the  Vedic  gods,  being  celebrated  in  more  than  200 
hymns.  It  is  only  natural  that  the  personification  of 
the  sacrificial  fire,  the  centre  around  which  the  ritual 
poetry  of  the  Veda  moves,  should  engross  so  much  of 
the  attention  of  the  Rishis.  Agni  being  also  the  regular 
name  of  the  element  (Latin,  ignis),  the  anthropomorphism 
of  the  deity  is  but  slight.  The  bodily  parts  of  the  god 
have  a  clear  connection  with  the  phenomena  of  terres- 
trial fire  mainly  in  its  sacrificial  aspect.  In  allusion  to 
the  oblation  of  ghee  cast  in  the  fire,  Agni  is  "butter- 
backed,"  u  butter-faced,"  or  "  butter-haired."  He  is 
also  "flame-haired,"  and  has  a  tawny  beard.  He  has 
sharp,  shining,  golden,  or  iron  teeth  and  burning  jaws. 
Mention  is  also  often  made  of  his  tongue  or  tongues. 
He  is  frequently  compared  with  or  directly  called  a 
steed,  being  yoked  to  the  pole  of  the  rite  in  order  to  waft 
the  sacrifice  to  the  gods.  He  is  also  often  likened  to  a 
bird,  being  winged  and  darting  with  rapid  flight  to  the 
gods.  He  eats  and  chews  the  forest  with  sharp  tooth. 
His  lustre  is  like  the  rays  of  dawn  or  of  the  sun,  and 
resembles  the  lightnings  of  the  rain-cloud  ;  but  his  track 
and  his  fellies  are  black,  and  his  steeds  make  black 
furrows.  Driven  by  the  wind,  he  rushes  through  the 
wood.  He  invades  the  forests  and  shears  the  hairs  of 
the  earth,  shaving  it  as  a  barber  a  beard.  His  flames  are 
like  the  roaring  waves  of  the  sea.  He  bellows  like  a  bull 
when  he  invades  the  forest  trees  ;  the  birds  are  terri- 
fied at  the  noise  when  his  grass-devouring  sparks  arise. 
Like  the  erector  of  a  pillar,  he  supports  the  sky  with  his 
smoke  ;  and  one  of  his  distinctive  epithets  is  "  smoke- 
bannered."  He  is  borne  on  a  brilliant  car,  drawn  by 
two  or  more  steeds,  which  are  ruddy  or  tawny  and  wind- 


impelled.  He  yokes  them  to  summon  the  gods,  for  he 
is  the  charioted"  of  the  sacrifice. 

The  poets  love  to  dwell  on  his  various  births,  forms, 
and  abodes.  They  often  refer  to  the  daily  generation  of 
Agni  by  friction  from  the  two  fire-sticks.  These  are  his 
parents,  producing  him  as  a  new-born  infant  who  is  hard 
to  catch.  From  the  dry  wood  the  god  is  born  living ; 
the  child  as  soon  as  born  devours  his  parents.  The  ten 
maidens  said  to  produce  him  are  the  ten  fingers  used  in 
twirling  the  upright  fire-drill.  Agni  is  called  "Son  of 
strength  "  because  of  the  powerful  friction  necessary  in 
kindling  a  flame.  As  the  fire  is  lit  every  morning  for  the 
sacrifice,  Agni  is  described  as  "waking  at  dawn."  Hence, 
too,  he  is  the  "  youngest "  of  the  gods ;  but  he  is  also 
old,  for  he  conducted  the  first  sacrifice.  Thus  he  comes 
to  be  paradoxically  called  both  "ancient"  and  "very 
young  "  in  the  same  passage. 

Agni  also  springs  from  the  aerial  waters,  and  is  often 
said  to  have  been  brought  from  heaven.  Born  on  earth, 
in  air,  in  heaven,  Agni  is  frequently  regarded  as  having 
a  triple  character.  The  gods  made  him  threefold,  his 
births  are  three,  and  he  has  three  abodes  or  dwellings. 
"  From  heaven  first  Agni  was  born,  the  second  time  from 
us  {i.e.  men),  thirdly  in  the  waters."  This  earliest  Indian 
trinity  is  important  as  the  basis  of  much  of  the  mysti- 
cal speculation  of  the  Vedic  age.  It  was  probably  the 
prototype  not  only  of  the  later  Rigvedic  triad,  Sun,  Wind, 
Fire,  spoken  of  as  distributed  in  the  three  worlds,  but 
also  of  the  triad  Sun,  Indra,  Fire,  which,  though  not 
Rigvedic,  is  still  ancient.  It  is  most  likely  also  the 
historical  progenitor  of  the  later  Hindu  trinity  of 
Brahma,  Vishnu,  Civa.  This  triad  of  fires  may  have 
suggested  and  would   explain   the   division  of  a  single 


sacrificial  fire  into  the  three  which  form  an  essential 
feature  of  the  cult  of  the  Brahmanas.     * 

Owing  to  the  multiplicity  of  terrestrial  fires,  Agni  is 
also  said  to  have  many  births  ;  for  he  abides  in  every 
family,  house,  or  dwelling.  Kindled  in  many  spots,  he 
is  but  one ;  scattered  in  many  places,  he  is  one  and  the 
same  king.  Other  fires  are  attached  to  him  as  branches 
to  a  tree.  He  assumes  various  divine  forms,  and  has 
many  names ;  but  in  him  are  comprehended  all  the 
gods,  whom  he  surrounds  as  a  felly  the  spokes.  Thus 
we  find  the  speculations  about  Agni's  various  forms 
leading  to  the  monotheistic  notion  of  a  unity  pervading 
the  many  manifestations  of  the  divine. 

Agni  is  an  immortal  who  has  taken  up  his  abode 
among  mortals;  he  is  constantly  called  a  "guest"  in 
human  dwellings  ;  and  is  the  only  god  to  whom  the  fre- 
quent epithet grihapati,  "lord  of  the  house,"  is  applied. 

As  the  conductor  of  sacrifice,  Agni  is  repeatedly 
called  both  a  u  messenger  "  who  moves  between  heaven 
and  earth  and  a  priest.  He  is  indeed  the  great  priest, 
just  as  Indra  is  the  great  warrior. 

Agni  is,  moreover,  a  mighty  benefactor  of  his  wor- 
shippers. With  a  thousand  eyes  he  watches  over  the 
man  who  offers  him  oblations ;  but  consumes  his  wor- 
shippers' enemies  like  dry  bushes,  and  strikes  down  the 
malevolent  like  a  tree  destroyed  by  lightning.  All  bless- 
ings issue  from  him  as  branches  from  a  tree.  All 
treasures  are  collected  in  him,  and  he  opens  the  door 
of  wealth.  He  gives  rain  from  heaven  and  is  like  a 
spring  in  the  desert.  The  boons  which  he  confers  are, 
however,  chiefly  domestic  welfare,  offspring,  and  general 
prosperity,  while  Indra  for  the  most  part  grants  victory, 
booty,  power,  and  glory. 

SOMA  97 

Probably  the  oldest  function  of  fire  in  regard  to  its 
cult  is  that  of  burning  and  dispelling  evil  spirits  and 
hostile  magic.  It  still  survives  in  the  Rigveda  from 
an  earlier  age,  Agni  being  said  to  drive  away  the 
goblins  with  his  light  and  receiving  the  epithet  raksho- 
han}  "  goblin-slayer."  This  activity  is  at  any  rate  more 
characteristic  of  Agni  than  of  any  other  deity,  both  in 
the  hymns  and  in  the  ritual  of  the  Vedas. 

Since  the  soma  sacrifice,  beside  the  cult  of  fire, 
forms  a  main  feature  in  the  ritual  of  the  Rigveday  the 
god  Soma  is  naturally  one  of  its  chief  deities.  The 
whole  of  the. ninth  book,  in  addition  to  a  few  scattered 
hymns  elsewhere,  is  devoted  to  his  praise.  Thus, 
judged  by  the  standard  of  frequency  of  mention,  Soma 
comes  third  in  order  of  importance  among  the  Vedic 
gods.  The  constant  presence  of  the  soma  plant  and 
its  juice  before  their  eyes  set  limits  to  the  imagination 
of  the  poets  who  describe  its  personification.  Hence 
little  is  said  of  Soma's  human  form  or  action.  The 
ninth  book  mainly  consists  of  incantations  sung  over 
the  soma  while  it  is  pressed  by  the  stones  and  flows 
through  the  woollen  strainer  into  the  wooden  vats, 
in  which  it  is  finally  offered  as  a  beverage  to  the  gods 
on  a  litter  of  grass.  The  poets  are  chiefly  concerned 
with  these  processes,  overlaying  them  with  chaotic 
imagery  and  mystical  fancies  of  almost  infinite  variety. 
When  Soma  is  described  as  being  purified  by  the 
ten  maidens  who  are  sisters,  or  by  the  daughters  of 
Vivasvat  (the  rising  sun),  the  ten  fingers  are  meant. 
The  stones  used  in  pounding  the  shoots  on  a  skin 
"  chew  him  on  the  hide  of  a  cow."  The  flowing  of  the 
juice  into  jars  or  vats  after  passing  through  the  filter 
of   sheep's   wool    is   described    in    various   ways.      The 


streams  of  soma  rush  to  the  forest  of  the  vats  like 
buffaloes.  The  god  flies  like  a  bird  to  settle  in  the  vats. 
The  Tawny  One  settles  in  the  bowls  like  a  bird  sitting 
on  a  tree.  The  juice  being  mixed  with  water  in  the 
vat,  Soma  is  said  to  rush  into  the  lap  of  the  waters  like 
a  roaring  bull  on  the  herd.  Clothing  himself  in  waters, 
he  rushes  around  the  vat,  impelled  by  the  singers. 
Playing  in  the  wood,  he  is  cleansed  by  the  ten  maidens. 
He  is  the  embryo  or  child  of  waters,  which  are  called 
his  mothers.  When  the  priests  add  milk  to  soma  "  they 
clothe  him  in  cow-garments." 

The  sound  made  by  the  soma  juice  flowing  into 
the  vats  or  bowls  is  often  referred  to  in  hyperbolical 
language.  Thus  a  poet  says  that  "the  sweet  drop  flows 
over  the  filter  like  the  din  of  combatants."  This  sound 
is  constantly  described  as  roaring,  bellowing,  or  occa- 
sionally even  thundering.  In  such  passages  Soma  is 
commonly  compared  with  or  called  a  bull,  and  the 
waters,  with  or  without  milk,  are  termed  cows. 

Owing  to  the  yellow  colour  of  the  juice,  the  physical 
quality  of  Soma  mainly  dwelt  upon  by  the  poets  is  his 
brilliance.  His  rays  are  often  referred  to,  and  he  is 
frequently  assimilated  to  the  sun. 

The  exhilarating  and  invigorating  action  of  soma 
led  to  its  being  regarded  as  a  divine  drink  that  bestows 
everlasting  life.  Hence  it  is  called  amrita,  the  "immor- 
tal" draught  (allied  to  the  Greek  ambrosia).  Soma  is 
the  stimulant  which  conferred  immortality  upon  the 
gods.  Soma  also  places  his  worshipper  in  the  imperish- 
able world  where  there  is  eternal  light  and  glory, 
making  him  immortal  where  King  Yama  dwells.  Thus 
soma  naturally  has  medicinal  power  also.  It  is  medi- 
cine for  a  sick  man,  and   the  god   Soma   heals  what- 

SOMA  99 

ever  is  sick,  making  the  blind  to  see  and  the  lame  to 

Soma  when  imbibed  stimulates  the  voice,  which  it 
impels  as  the  rower  his  boat.  Soma  also  awakens  eager 
thought,  and  the  worshippers  of  the  god  exclaim,  "  We 
have  drunk  soma,  we  have  become  immortal,  we  have 
entered  into  light,  we  have  known  the  gods."  The  in- 
toxicating power  of  soma  is  chiefly,  and  very  frequently, 
dwelt  on  in  connection  with  Indra,  whom  it  stimulates 
in  his  conflict  with  the  hostile  demons  of  the  air. 

Being  the  most  important  of  herbs,  soma  is  spoken 
of  as  lord  of  plants  or  their  king,  receiving  also  the 
epithet  vanaspati,  "  lord  of  the  forest." 

Soma  is  several  times  described  as  dwelling  or  grow- 
ing on  the  mountains,  in  accordance  with  the  statements 
of  the  Avesta  about  Haoma.  Its  true  origin  and  abode 
is  regarded  as  heaven,  whence  it  has  been  brought  down 
to  earth.  This  belief  is  most  frequently  embodied  in  the 
myth  of  the  soma-bringing  eagle  {gyena),  which  is  pro- 
bably only  the  mythological  account  of  the  simple 
phenomenon  of  the  descent  of  lightning  and  the  simul- 
taneous fall  of  rain. 

In  some  of  the  latest  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  Soma 
begins  to  be  somewhat  obscurely  identified  with  the 
moon.  In  the  Atharva-veda  Soma  several  times  means 
the  moon,  and  in  the  Yajurveda  Soma  is  spoken  of  as 
having  the  lunar  mansions  for  his  wives.  The  identifica- 
tion is  a  commonplace  in  the  Brahmanas,  which  explain 
the  waning  of  the  moon  as  due  to  the  gods  and  fathers 
eating  up  the  ambrosia  of  which  it  consists.  In  one  of 
the  Upanishads,  moreover,  the  statement  occurs  that  the 
moon  is  King  Soma,  the  food  of  the  gods,  and  is  drunk 
up  by  them.     Finally,  in  post-Vedic  literature  Soma  is 


a  regular  name  of  the  moon,  which  is  regarded  as  being 
consumed  by  the  gods,  and  consequently  waning  till  it 
is  filled  up  again  by  the  sun.  This  somewhat  remark- 
able coalescence  of  Soma  with  the  moon  doubtless 
sprang  from  the  hyperbolical  terms  in  which  the  poets 
of  the  Rigveda  dwell  on  Soma's  celestial  nature  and 
brilliance,  which  they  describe  as  dispelling  darkness. 
They  sometimes  speak  of  it  as  swelling  in  the  waters, 
and  often  refer  to  the  sap  as  a  "drop"  (indu).  Com- 
parisons with  the  moon  would  thus  easily  suggest  them- 
selves. In  one  passage  of  the  Rigveda,  for  instance, 
Soma  in  the  bowls  is  said  to  appear  like  the  moon  in  the 
waters.  The  mystical  speculations  with  which  the  Soma 
poetry  teems  would  soon  complete  the  symbolism. 

A  comparison  of  the  Avesta  with  the  Rigveda  shows 
clearly  that  soma  was  already  an  important  feature  ixi 
the  mythology  and  cult  of  the  Indo-Iranian  age.  In 
both  it  is  described  as  growing  on  the  mountains, 
whence  it  is  brought  by  birds ;  in  both  it  is  king  of 
plants ;  in  both  a  medicine  bestowing  long  life  and  re- 
moving death.  In  both  the  sap  was  pressed  and  mixed 
with  milk  ;  in  both  its  mythical  home  is  heaven,  whence 
it  comes  down  to  earth  ;  in  both  the  draught  has  be- 
come a  mighty  god ;  in  both  the  celestial  Soma  is  dis- 
tinguished from  the  terrestrial,  the  god  from  the  beverage. 
The  similarity  goes  so  far  that  Soma  and  Haoma  have 
even  some  individual  epithets  in  common. 

The  evolution  of  thought  in  the  Rigvedic  period 
shows  a  tendency  to  advance  from  the  concrete  to  the 
abstract.  One  result  of  this  tendency  is  the  creation  of 
abstract  deities,  which,  however,  are  still  rare,  occurring 
for  the  most  part  in  the  last  book  only.  A  few  of  them 
are   deifications   of    abstract   nouns,   such   as   £raddha 


"Faith,"  invoked  in  one  short  hymn,  and  Manyu,  "Wrath," 
in  two.  These  abstractions  grow  more  numerous  in  the 
later  Vedas.  Thus  Kama,  "  Desire,"  first  appears  in  the 
Atharva-veda,  where  the  arrows  with  which  he  pierces 
hearts  are  already  referred  to  ;  he  is  the  forerunner  of 
the  flower-arrowed  god  of  love,  familiar  in  classical 
literature.  More  numerous  is  the  class  of  abstractions 
comprising  deities  whose  names  denote  an  agent,  such  as 
Dhatriy  "Creator,"  or  an  attribute,  such  as  Prajapati, 
"  Lord  of  Creatures."  These  do  not  appear  to  be  direct 
abstractions,  but  seem  to  be  derived  from  epithets  de- 
signating a  particular  aspect  of  activity  or  character, 
which  at  first  applying  to  one  or  more  of  the  older 
deities,  finally  acquired  an  independent  value.  Thus 
Prajdpati,  originally  an  epithet  of  such  gods  as  Savitri 
and  Soma,  occurs  in  a  late  verse  of  the  last  book  as  a 
distinct  deity  possessing  the  attribute  of  a  creator.  This 
god  is  in  the  Atharva-veda  and  the  Vdjasaneyi-Samhitd 
often,  and  in  the  Brahmanas  regularly,  recognised  as  the 
chief  deity,  the  father  of  the  gods.  In  the  Sutras,  Praja- 
pati  is  identified  with  Brahma,  his  successor  in  the  post- 
Vedic  age. 

A  hymn  of  the  tenth  book  furnishes  an  interesting 
illustration  of  the  curious  way  in  which  such  abstrac- 
tions sometimes  come  into  being.  Here  is  one  of  the 
stanzas  : — 

By  whom  the  mighty  sky,  the  earth  so  steadfast. 

The  realm  of  light,  heaveris  vault,  has  been  established, 

Who  in  the  air  the  boundless  space  traverses  : 

What  god  should  we  with  sacrifices  worship  ? 

The  fourth  line  here  is  the  refrain  of  nine  successive 
stanzas,  in  which  the  creator  is  referred  to  as  unknown, 
with  the  interrogative  pronoun  ka,  "  what  ?  "     This  ka  in 


the  later  Vedic  literature  came  to  be  employed  not  only 
as  an  epithet  of  the  creator  Prajapati,  but  even  as  an 
independent  name  of  the  supreme  god. 

A  deity  of  an  abstract  character  occurring  in  the 
oldest  as  well  as  the  latest  parts  of  the  Rigveda  is 
Brihaspati,  "  Lord  of  Prayer."  Roth  and  other  dis- 
tinguished Vedic  scholars  regard  him  as  a  direct  per- 
sonification of  devotion.  In  the  opinion  of  the  present 
writer,  however,  he  is  only  an  indirect  deification  of  the 
sacrificial  activity  of  Agni,  a  god  with  whom  he  has 
undoubtedly  much  in  common.  Thus  the  most  pro- 
minent feature  of  his  character  is  his  priesthood.  Like 
Agni,  he  has  been  drawn  into  and  has  obtained  a  firm 
footing  in  the  Indra  myth.  Thus  he  is  often  described 
as  driving  out  the  cows  after  vanquishing  the  demon 
Vala.  As  the  divine  brahmd  priest,  Brihaspati  seems 
to  have  been  the  prototype  of  the  god  Brahma,  chief 
of  the  later  Hindu  trinity.  But  the  name  Brihaspati 
itself  survived  in  post-Vedic  mythology  as  the  desig- 
nation of  a  sage,  the  teacher  of  the  gods,  and  regent 
of  the  planet  Jupiter. 

Another  abstraction,  and  one  of  a  very  peculiar 
kind,  is  the  goddess  Aditi.  Though  not  the  subject  of 
any  separate  hymn,  she  is  often  incidentally  celebrated. 
She  has  two,  and  only  two,  prominent  characteristics. 
She  is,  in  the  first  place,  the  mother  of  the  small  group 
of  gods  called  Adityas,  of  whom  Varuna  is  the  chief. 
Secondly,  she  has,  like  her  son  Varuna,  the  power  of 
releasing  from  the  bonds  of  physical  suffering  and 
moral  guilt.  With  the  latter  trait  her  name,  which 
means  "unbinding,"  " freedom,"  is  clearly  connected. 
The  unpersonified  sense  seems  to  survive  in  a  few 
passages  of  the  Rigveda.     Thus  a  poet  prays  for  the 


"secure  and  unlimited  gift  of  aditi."  The  origin  of 
the  abstraction  is  probably  to  be  explained  as  follows. 
The  expression  "sons  of  Aditi,"  which  is  several  times 
applied  to  the  Adityas,  when  first  used  in  all  likelihood 
meant  "  sons  of  liberation,"  to  emphasise  a  salient  trait 
of  their  character,  according  to  a  turn  of  language 
common  in  the  Rigveda.  The  feminine  word  "libera- 
tion "  {aditi)  used  in  this  connection  would  then  have 
become  personified  by  a  process  which  has  more  than 
one  parallel  in  Sanskrit.  Thus  Aditi,  a  goddess  of 
Indian  origin,  is  historically  younger  than  some  at  least 
of  her  sons,  who  can  be  traced  back  to  a  pre-Indian 

Goddesses,  as  a  whole,  occupy  a  very  subordinate 
position  in  Vedic  belief.  They  play  hardly  any  part 
as  rulers  of  the  world.  The  only  one  of  any  conse- 
quence is  Ushas.  The  next  in  importance,  SarasvatI, 
ranks  only  with  the  least  prominent  of  the  male  gods. 
One  of  the  few,  besides  Prithivl,  to  whom  an  entire 
hymn  is  addressed,  is  Ratrl,  Night.  Like  her  sister 
Dawn,  with  whom  she  is  often  coupled,  she  is  ad- 
dressed as  a  daughter  of  the  sky.  She  is  conceived 
not  as  the  dark,  but  as  the  bright  starlit  night.  Thus, 
in  contrasting  the  twin  goddesses,  a  poet  says,  "One 
decks  herself  with  stars,  with  sunlight  the  other."  The 
following  stanzas  are  from  the  hymn  addressed  to  Night 
(x.  127) :— 

Night  coming  on,  the  goddess  shines 
In  many  places  with  her  eyes  : 
All-glorious  she  has  decked  herself. 

Immortal  goddess,  far  and  wide 
She  fills  the  valleys  and  the  heights  ; 
Darkness  with  light  she  overcomes. 


And  now  the  goddess  coming  on 
Has  driven  away  her  sister  Dawn  ; 
Far  off  the  darkness  hastes  away. 

Thus,  goddess,  come  to  us  to-day, 

At  whose  approach  we  seek  our  homes, 

As  birds  tip  on  the  tree  their  nest. 

The  villagers  have  gone  to  rest, 

Beasts,  too,  with  feet  and  birds  with  wings; 

The  hungry  hawk  himself  is  still. 

Ward  off  the  she-wolf  and  the  wolf 
Ward  off  the  robber,  goddess  Night : 
And  take  us  safe  across  the  gloom. 

Goddesses,  as  wives  of  the  great  gods,  play  a  still 
more  insignificant  part,  being  entirely  devoid  of  inde- 
pendent character.  Indeed,  hardly  anything  about 
them  is  mentioned  but  their  names,  which  are  simply 
formed  from  those  of  their  male  consorts  by  means  of 
feminine  suffixes. 

A  peculiar  feature  of  Vedic  mythology  is  the  invo- 
cation in  couples  of  a  number  of  deities  whose  names 
are  combined  in  the  form  of  dual  compounds.  About 
a  dozen  such  pairs  are  celebrated  in  entire  hymns, 
and  some  half-dozen  others  in  detached  stanzas.  By  far 
the  greatest  number  of  such  hymns  is  addressed  to 
Mitra-Varuna,  but  the  names  most  often  found  combined 
in  this  way  are  those  of  Heaven  and  Earth  {Dydvd- 
prithivt).  There  can  be  little  doubt  that  the  latter 
couple  furnished  the  analogy  for  this  favourite  forma- 
tion. For  the  association  of  this  pair,  traceable  as  far 
back  as  the  Indo-European  period,  appeared  to  early 
thought  so  intimate  in  nature,  that  the  myth  of  their 
conjugal  union  is  found  widely  diffused  among  primitive 


Besides  these  pairs  of  deities  there  is  a  certain 
number  of  more  or  less  definite  groups  of  divine 
beings  generally  associated  with  some  particular 
god.  The  largest  and  most  important  of  these  are  the 
Maruts  or  Storm-gods,  who,  as  we  have  seen,  con- 
stantly attend  Indra  on  his  warlike  exploits.  The  same 
group,  under  the  name  of  Rudras,  is  occasionally  associ- 
ated with  their  father  Rudra.  The  smaller  group  of 
the  Adityas  is  constantly  mentioned  in  company  with 
their  mother  Aditi,  or  their  chief  Varuna.  Their  num- 
ber in  two  passages  of  the  Rigveda  is  stated  as  seven 
or  eight,  while  in  the  Brahmanas  and  later  it  is  regularly 
twelve.  Some  eight  or  ten  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  are 
addressed  to  them  collectively.  The  following  lines 
are  taken  from  one  (viii.  47)  in  which  their  aid  and 
protection  is  specially  invoked  : — 

As  birds  extend  their  sheltering  wings, 
Spread  your  protectioii  over  us. 

As  charioteers  avoid  ill  roads, 
May  dangers  always  pass  us  by. 

Resting  in  you,  O  gods,  we  are 
Like  men  thatjight  in  coats  of  mail. 

Look  down  on  us,  O  Adityas, 
Like  spies  observing  from  the  bank  : 

Lead  us  to  paths  of  pleasantness, 
Like  horses  to  an  easy  ford. 

A  third  and  much  less  important  group  is  that  of  the 
Vasus,  mostly  associated  with  Indra  in  the  Rigveda, 
though  in  later  Vedic  texts  Agni  becomes  their  leader. 
They  are  a  vague  group,  for  they  are  not  character- 
ised, having  neither  individual  names  nor  any  definite 
number.     The    Brahmanas,  however,  mention  eight  of 


them.  Finally,  there  are  the  Vicvedevas  or  All-gods,  to 
whom  some  sixty  hymns  are  addressed.  It  is  a  factitious 
sacrificial  group  meant  to  embrace  the  whole  pantheon 
in  order  that  none  should  be  excluded  in  invocations 
intended  to  be  addressed  to  all.  Strange  to  say,  the 
All-gods  are  sometimes  conceived  as  a  narrower  group, 
which  is  invoked  with  others  like  the  Vasus  and  Adityas. 
Besides  the'  higher  gods  the  Rigveda  knows  a  number 
of  mythical  beings  not  regarded  as  possessing  the  divine 
nature  to  the  full  extent  and  from  the  beginning.  The 
most  important  of  these  are  the  Ribhus  who  form  a 
triad,  and  are  addressed  in  eleven  hymns.  Character- 
istically deft-handed,  they  are  often  said  to  have  acquired 
the  rank  of  deities  by  their  marvellous  skill.  Among  the 
five  great  feats  of  dexterity  whereby  they  became  gods, 
the  greatest — in  which  they  appear  as  successful  rivals  of 
Tvashtri,  the  artificer  god — consists  in  their  having  trans- 
formed his  bowl,  the  drinking  vessel  of  the  gods,  into 
four  shining  cups.  This  bowl  perhaps  represents  the 
moon,  the  four  cups  being  its  phases.  It  has  also  been 
interpreted  as  the  year  with  its  division  into  seasons. 
The  Ribhus  are  further  said  to  have  renewed  the  youth  of 
their  parents,  by  whom  Heaven  and  Earth  seem  to  have 
been  meant.  With  this  miraculous  deed  another  myth 
told  about  them  appears  to  be  specially  connected. 
They  rested  for  twelve  days  in  the  house  of  the  sun, 
Agohya  ("who  cannot  be  concealed").  This  sojourn  of 
the  Ribhus  in  the  house  of  the  sun  in  all  probability 
alludes  to  the  winter  solstice,  the  twelve  days  being  the 
addition  which  was  necessary  to  bring  the  lunar  year  of 
354  into  harmony  with  the  solar  year  of  nearly  366 
days,  and  was  intercalated  before  the  days  begin  to  grow 
perceptibly  longer.     On  the  whole,  it  seems  likely  that 


the  Ribhus  were  originally  terrestrial  or  aerial  elves, 
whose  dexterity  gradually  attracted  to  them  various 
myths  illustrative  of  marvellous  skill. 

In  a  few  passages  of  the  Rigveda  mention  is  made  of 
a  celestial  water-nymph  called  Apsaras  ("  moving  in  the 
waters  "),  who  is  regarded  as  the  spouse  of  a  correspon- 
ding male  genius  called  Gandharva.  The  Apsaras,  in  the 
words  of  the  poet,  smiles  at  her  beloved  in  the  highest 
heaven.  More  Apsarases  than  one  are  occasionally 
spoken  of.  Their  abode  is  in  the  later  Vedas  extended 
to  the  earth,  where  they  especially  frequent  trees,  which 
resound  with  the  music  of  their  lutes  and  cymbals.  The 
Brahmanas  describe  them  as  distinguished  by  great 
beauty  and  devoted  to  dance,  song,  and  play.  In  the 
post-Vedic  period  they  become  the  courtesans  of  Indra's 
heaven.  The  Apsarases  are  loved  not  only  by  the 
Gandharvas  but  occasionally  even  by  men.  Such  an  one 
was  UrvacJ.  A  dialogue  between  her  and  her  earthly 
spouse,  Pururavas,  is  contained  in  a  somewhat  obscure 
hymn  of  the  Rigveda  (x.  95).  The  nymph  is  here  made 
to  say  : — 

Among  mortals  in  other  form  I  wandered, 

And  dwelt  for  many  nights  throughout  four  autumns. 

Her  lover  implores  her  to  return  ;  but,  though  his  re- 
quest is  refused,  he  (like  Tithonus)  receives  the  promise  of 
immortality.  The  ^atapatha  Brdhmana  tells  the  story  in 
a  more  connected  and  detailed  form.  UrvagI  is  joined 
with  Pururavas  in  an  alliance,  the  permanence  of  which 
depends  on  a  condition.  When  this  is  broken  by  a 
stratagem  of  the  Gandharvas,  the  nymph  immediately 
vanishes  from  the  sight  of  her  lover.  Pururavas,  dis- 
tracted, roams  in  search  of  her,  till  at  last  he  observes 


her  swimming  in  a  lotus  lake  with  other  Apsarases  in  the 
form  of  an  aquatic  bird.  UrvacI  discovers  herself  to 
him,  and  in  response  to  his  entreaties,  consents  to  return 
for  once  after  the  lapse  of  a  year.  This  myth  in  the 
post-Vedic  age  furnished  the  theme  of  Kalidasa's  play 

Gandharva  appears  to  have  been  conceived  originally 
as  a  single  being.  For  in  the  Rigveda  the  name  nearly 
^  always  occurs  in  the  singular,  and  in  the  Avesta,  where 
it  is  found  a  few  times  in  the  form  of  Gandarewa,  only 
in  the  singular.  According  to  the  Rigveda,  this  genius, 
the  lover  of  the  water-nymph,  dwells  in  the  fathom- 
less spaces  of  air,  and  stands  erect  on  the  vault  of 
heaven.  He  is  also  a  guardian  of  the  celestial  soma, 
and  is  sometimes,  as  in  the  Avesta,  connected  with  the 
waters.  In  the  later  Vedas  the  Gandharvas  form  a  class, 
their  association  with  the  Apsarases  being  so  frequent  as 
to  amount  to  a  stereotyped  phrase.  In  the  post-Vedic 
age  they  have  become  celestial  singers,  and  the  notion  of 
their  home  being  in  the  realm  of  air  survives  in  the 
expression  "City  of  the  Gandharvas"  as  one  of  the 
Sanskrit  names  for  "mirage." 

Among  the  numerous  ancient  priests  and  heroes  of 
the  Rigveda  the  most  important  is  Manu,  the  first  sacri- 
ficer  and  the  ancestor  of  the  human  race.  The  poets 
refer  to  him  as  "  our  father,"  and  speak  of  sacrificers  as 
"  the  people  of  Manu."  The  ^atapatha  Brahinana  makes 
Manu  play  the  part  of  a  Noah  in  the  history  of  human 

A  group  of  ancient  priests  are  the  Angirases,  who  are 
closely  associated  with  Indra  in  the  myth  of  the  capture 
of  the  cows.  Another  ancient  race  of  mythical  priests  are 
the  Bhrigus,  to  whom  the  Indian  Prometheus,  Mataricvan, 


brought  the  hidden  Agni  from  heaven,  and  whose  func- 
tion was  the  establishment  and  diffusion  of  the  sacrificial 
fire  on  earth. 

A  numerically  definite  group  of  ancestral  priests, 
rarely  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda,  are  the  seven  Rishis  or 
seers.  In  the  Brahmanas  they  came  to  be  regarded  as 
the  seven  stars  in  the  constellation  of  the  Great  Bear, 
and  are  said  to  have  been  bears  in  the  beginning.  This 
curious  identification  was  doubtless  brought  about  partly 
by  the  sameness  of  the  number  in  the  two  cases,  and 
partly  by  the  similarity  of  sound  between  rishi,  u  seer," 
and  riksha,  which  in  the  Rigveda  means  both  "star" 
and  "  bear." 

Animals  play  a  considerable  part  in  the  mythological 
and  religious  conceptions  of  the  Veda.  Among  them 
the  horse  is  conspicuous  as  drawing  the  cars  of  the  gods, 
and  in  particular  as  representing  the  sun  under  various 
names.  In  the  Vedic  ritual  the  horse  was  regarded  as 
symbolical  of  the  sun  and  of  fire.  Two  hymns  of  the 
Rigveda  (i.  162-163)  which  deal  with  the  subject,  further 
show  that  horse-sacrifice  was  practised  in  the  earliest  age 
of  Indian  antiquity. 

The  cow,  however,  is  the  animal  which  figures  most 
largely  in  the  Rigveda.  This  is  undoubtedly  due  to  the 
important  position,  resulting  from  its  pre-eminent  utility, 
occupied  by  this  animal  even  in  the  remotest  period  of 
Indian  life.  The  beams  of  dawn  and  the  clouds  are 
cows.  The  rain-cloud,  personified  under  the  name  of 
Pricni,  "  the  speckled  one,"  is  a  cow,  the  mother  of  the 
Storm-gods.  The  bountiful  clouds  on  which  all  wealth 
in  India  depended,  were  doubtless  the  prototypes  of  the 
many-coloured  cows  which  yield  all  desires  in  the  heaven 
of  the  blest  described  by  the  Atharva-veda,  and  which  are 


the  forerunners  of  the  "  Cow  of  Plenty "  (Kdmaduh)  so 
familiar  to  post-Vedic  poetry.  The  earth  itself  is  often 
spoken  of  by  the  poets  of  the  Rigveda  as  a  cow.  That 
this  animal  already  possessed  a  sacred  character  is  shown 
by  the  fact  that  one  Rishi  addresses  a  cow  as  Aditi  and 
a  goddess,  impressing  upon  his  hearers  that  she  should 
not  be  slain.  Aghnya  ("not  to  be  killed"),  a  frequent 
designation  of  the  cow  in  the  Rigveda,  points  in  the 
same  direction.  '  Indeed  the  evidence  of  the  Avesta 
proves  that  the  sanctity  of  this  animal  goes  back  even 
to  the  Indo-Iranian  period.  In  the  Atharva-veda  the 
worship  of  the  cow  is  fully  recognised,  while  the  £ata- 
patha  Brdhmana  emphasises  the  evil  consequences  of 
eating  beef.  The  sanctity  of  the  cow  has  not  only  sur- 
vived in  India  down  to  the  present  day,  but  has  even 
gathered  strength  with  the  lapse  of  time.  The  part 
played  by  the  greased  cartridges  in  the  Indian  Mutiny 
is  sufficient  to  prove  this  statement.  To  no  other  animal 
has  mankind  owed  so  much,  and  the  debt  has  been  richly 
repaid  in  India  with  a  veneration  unknown  in  other 
lands.  So  important  a  factor  has  the  cow  proved  in 
Indian  life  and  thought,  that  an  exhaustive  account  of 
her  influence  from  the  earliest  times  would  form  a  note- 
worthy chapter  in  the  history  of  civilisation. 

Among  the  noxious  animals  of  the  Rigveda  the  ser- 
pent is  the  most  prominent.  This  is  the  form  which 
the  powerful  demon,  the  foe  of  Indra,  is  believed  to 
possess.  The  serpent  also  appears  as  a  divine  being 
in  the  form  of  the  rarely  mentioned  Ahi  budhnya,  "the 
Dragon  of  the  Deep,"  supposed  to  dwell  in  the  fathom- 
less depths  of  the  aerial  ocean,  and  probably  represent- 
ing the  beneficent  side  of  the  character  of  the  serpent 
Vritra.     In  the  later  Vedas  the  serpents  are  mentioned 


as  a  class  of  semi-divine  beings  along  witli  the  Gan- 
dharvas  and  others  ;  and  in  the  Sutras  offerings  to  them 
are  prescribed.  In  the  latter  works  we  meet  for  the  first 
time  with  the  Nagas,  in  reality  serpents,  and  human  only 
in  form.  In  post-Vedic  times  serpent-worship  is  found 
all  over  India.  Since  there  is  no  trace  of  it  in  the  Rigveda, 
while  it  prevails  widely  among  the  non-Aryan  Indians, 
there  is  reason  to  believe  that  when  the  Aryans  spread 
over  India,  the  land  of  serpents,  they  found  the  cult  dif- 
fused among  the  aborigines  and  borrowed  it  from  them. 
Plants  are  frequently  invoked  as  divinities,  chiefly 
in  enumerations  along  with  waters,  rivers,  mountains, 
heaven,  and  earth.  One  entire  hymn  (x.  97)  is,  how- 
ever, devoted  to  the  praise  of  plants  ipshadhi)  alone, 
mainly  with  regard  to  their  healing  powers.  Later  Vedic 
texts  mention  offerings  made  to  plants  and  the  adoration 
paid  to  large  trees  passed  in  marriage  processions.  One 
hymn  of  the  Rigveda  (x.  146)  celebrates  the  forest  as  a 
whole,  personified  as  AranyanI,  the  mocking  genius  of 
the  woods.  The  weird  sights  and  sounds  of  the  gloam- 
ing are  here  described  with  a  fine  perception  of  nature. 
In  the  dark  solitudes  of  the  jungle 

Sounds  as  of  grazing  cows  are  heard, 
A  dwelling-house  appears  to  loom, 
And  AranyanI,  Forest-nymph, 
Creaks  like  a  cart  at  eventide. 

Here  some  one  calls  his  cow  to  himt 
Another  there  is  felling  wood; 
Who  tarries  in  the  forest-glade 
7  hinks  to  hwiself,  "  /  heard  a  cry." 

Never  does  Aranyani  hurt 

Unless  one  goes  too  near  to  her  : 

When  she  has  eaten  of  sweet  fruit 
At  her  own  will  she  goes  to  rest. 


Sweet-scented,  redolent  of  balm, 
Replete  with  food,  yet  tilli?ig  not, 
Mother  of  beasts,  the  Forest-nymph, 
Her  I  have  magnified  with  praise. 

On  the  whole,  however,  the  part  played  by  plant, 
tree,  and  forest  deities  is  a  very  insignificant  one  in  the 

A  strange  religious  feature  pointing  to  a  remote 
antiquity  is  the  occasional  deification  and  worship  even 
of  objects  fashioned  by  the  hand  of  man,  when  regarded 
as  useful  to  him.  These  are  chiefly  sacrificial  imple- 
ments. Thus  in  one  hymn  (iii.  8)  the  sacrificial  post 
(called  "lord  of  the  forest")  is  invoked,  while  three 
hymns  of  the  tenth  book  celebrate  the  pressing  stones 
used  in  preparing  soma.  The  plough  is  invoked  in  a 
few  stanzas ;  and  an  entire  hymn  (vi.  75)  is  devoted  to 
the  praise  of  various  implements  of  war,  while  one  in 
the  Atharva-veda  (v.  20)  glorifies  the  drum. 

The  demons  so  frequently  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda 
are  of  two  classes.  The  one  consists  of  the  aerial 
adversaries  of  the  gods.  The  older  view  is  that  of  a 
conflict  waged  between  a  single  god  and  a  single  demon. 
This  gradually  developed  into  the  notion  of  the  gods 
and  the  demons  in  general  being  arrayed  against  each 
other  as  two  opposing  hosts.  The  Brahmanas  regularly 
represent  the  antagonism  thus.  Asura  is  the  ordinary 
name  of  the  aerial  foes  of  the  gods.  This  word  has  a 
remarkable  history.  In  the  Rigveda  it  is  predominantly 
a  designation  of  the  gods,  and  in  the  Avesta  it  denotes, 
in  the  form  of  Ahura,  the  highest  god  of  Zoroastrianism. 
In  the  later  parts  of  the  Rigveda,  however,  asura,  when 
used  by  itself,  also  signifies  u  demon,"  and  this  is  its  only 
sense  in  the  Atharva-veda.     A  somewhat   unsuccessful 

DEMONS  113 

attempt  has  been  made  to  explain  how  a  word  signify- 
ing " god"  came  to  mean  " devil,"  as  the  result  of  national 
conflicts,  the  Asuras  or  gods  of  extra- Vedic  tribes  be- 
coming demons  to  the  Vedic  Indian,  just  as  the  devas  or 
gods  of  the  Veda  are  demons  in  the  Avesta.  There  is 
no  traditional  evidence  in  support  of  this  view,  and  it  is 
opposed  by  the  fact  that  to  the  Rigvedic  Indian  asura 
not  only  in  general  meant  a  divine  being,  but  was 
especially  appropriate  to  Varuna,  the  most  exalted  of 
the  gods.  The  word  must  therefore  have  changed  its 
meaning  in  course  of  time  within  the  Veda  itself.  Here 
it  seems  from  the  beginning  to  have  had  the  sense  of 
"possessor  of  occult  power,"  and  hence  to  have  been 
potentially  applicable  to  hostile  beings.  Thus  in  one 
hymn  of  the  Rigveda  (x.  124)  both  senses  seem  to  occur. 
Towards  the  end  of  the  Rigvedic  period  the  application 
of  the  word  to  the  gods  began  to  fall  into  abeyance. 
This  tendency  was  in  all  likelihood  accelerated  by  the 
need  of  a  word  denoting  the  hostile  demoniac  powers 
generally,  as  well  as  by  an  incipient  popular  etymology, 
which  saw  a  negative  {a-surd)  in  the  word  and  led  to 
the  invention  of  sura,  "god,"  a  term  first  found  in  the 

A  group  of  aerial  demons,  primarily  foes  of  Indra,  are 
the  Panis.  The  proper  meaning  of  the  word  is  "niggard," 
especially  in  regard  to  sacrificial  gifts.  From  this  significa- 
tion it  developed  the  mythological  sense  of  demons 
resembling  those  originally  conceived  as  withholding  the 
treasures  of  heaven.  vJThe  term  dasa  or  dasyu,  properly 
the  designation  of  the  dark  aborigines  of  India  contrasted 
with  their  fair  Aryan  conquerors,  is  frequently  used  in 
the  sense  of  demons  or  fiends. 

By  far  the  most  conspicuous  of  the  individual  aerial 


demons  of  the  Rigveda,  is  Vritra,  who  has  the  form  of 
a  serpent,  and  whose  name  means  "  encompasser." 
Another  demon  mentioned  with  some  frequency  is 
Vala,  the  personification  of  the  mythical  cave  in 
which  the  celestial  cows  are  confined.  In  post-Vedic 
literature  these  two  demons  are  frequently  mentioned 
together  and  are  regarded  as  brothers  slain  by  Indra. 
The  most  often  named  among  the  remaining  adver- 
saries of  Indra  is  Cushna,  the  "hisser"  or  "scorcher."  A 
rarely-mentioned  demon  is  Svarbhanu,  who  is  described 
as  eclipsing  the  sun  with  darkness.  His  successor  in 
Sanskrit  literature  was  Rahu,  regarded  as  causing  eclipses 
by  swallowing  the  sun  or  moon. 

The  second  class  of  demons  consists  of  goblins 
supposed  to  infest  the  earth,  enemies  of  mankind  as 
the  Asuras  are  of  the  gods.  By  far  the  most  common 
generic  name  for  this  class  is  Rakshas.  They  are 
hardly  ever  mentioned  except  in  connection  with  some 
god  who  is  invoked  to  destroy  or  is  praised  for  having 
destroyed  them.  These  goblins  are  conceived  as  having 
the  shapes  of  various  animals  as  well  as  of  men. 
Their  appearance  is  more  fully  described  by  the  Atharva- 
veda,  in  which  they  are  also  spoken  of  as  deformed 
or  as  being  blue,  yellow,  or  green  in  colour.  According 
to  the  Rigveda  they  are  fond  of  the  flesh  of  men  and 
horses,  whom  they  attack  by  entering  into  them  in  order 
to  satisfy  their  greed.  They  are  supposed  to  prowl 
about  at  night  and  to  make  the  sacrifice  the  special 
object  of  their  attacks.  The  belief  that  the  Rakshases 
actively  interfere  with  the  performance  of  sacrificial  rites 
remains  familiar  in  the  post-Vedic  period.  A  species  of 
goblin  scarcely  referred  to  in  the  Rigveda,  but  often 
mentioned  in  the  later  Vedas,  are  the  Picachas,  described 

DEMONS  115 

as   devouring   corpses   and   closely  connected  with  the 

Few  references  to  death  and  the  future  life  are  to 
be  found  in  the  hymns  of  the  Rigveda,  as  the  optimistic 
and  active  Vedic  Indian,  unlike  his  descendants  in  later 
centuries,  seems  to  have  given  little  thought  to  the  other 
world.  Most  of  the  information  to  be  gained  about  their 
views  of  the  next  life  are  to  be  found  in  the  funeral 
hymns  of  the  last  book.  The  belief  here  expressed  is 
that  fire  or  the  grave  destroys  the  body  only,  while  the 
real  personality  of  the  deceased  is  imperishable.  The 
soul  is  thought  to  be  separable  from  the  body,  not  only 
after  death,  but  even  during  unconsciousness  (x.  58). 
There  is  no  indication  here,  or  even  in  the  later  Vedas, 
of  the  doctrine  of  the  transmigration  of  souls,  though  it 
was  already  firmly  established  in  the  sixth  century  B.C. 
when  Buddhism  arose.  One  passage  of  the  Rigveda, 
however,  in  which  the  soul  is  spoken  of  as  departing 
to  the  waters  or  the  plants,  may  contain  the  germs  of  the 



ACCORDING  to  the  Vedic  view,  the  spirit  of  the 
deceased  proceeded  to  the  realm  of  eternal  light  on 
the  path  trodden  by  the  fathers,  whom  he  finds  in 
the  highest  heaven  revelling  with  Yama,  king  of  the 
dead,  and  feasting  with  the  gods. 

In  one  of  the  funeral  hymns  (x.  14,  7)  the  dead  man 
is  thus  addressed  : — 

Go  forth,  go  forth  along  those  ancient  pathways 
To  where  our  early  ancestors  departed. 
There  thou  shall  see  rejoicing  in  libations 
The  two  kings,  Varuna  the  god  and  Yama. 

Here  a  tree  spreads  its  branches,  in  the  shade  of 
which  Yama  drinks  soma  with  the  gods,  and  the  sound 
of  the  flute  and  of  songs  is  heard.  The  life  in  heaven 
is  free  from  imperfections  or  bodily  frailties,  and  is 
altogether  delectable.  It  is  a  glorified  life  of  material 
joys  as  conceived  by  the  imagination,  not  of  warriors, 
but  of  priests.  Heaven  is  gained  as  a  reward  by  heroes 
who  risk  their  lives  in  battle,  but  above  all  by  those 
who  bestow  liberal  sacrificial  gifts  on  priests. 

Though  the  Atharva-veda  undoubtedly  shows  a  belief 
in  a  place  of  future  punishment,  the  utmost  that  can 
be  inferred  with  regard  to  the  Rigvcda  from  the  scanty 

evidence  we  possess,  is  the  notion  that  unbelievers  were 



consigned  to  an  underground  darkness  after  death. 
So  little,  indeed,  do  the  Rishis  say  on  this  subject,  and 
so  vague  is  the  little  they  do  say,  that  Roth  held 
the  total  annihilation  of  the  wicked  by  death  to  be 
their  belief.  The  early  Indian  notions  about  future 
punishment  gradually  developed,  till,  in  the  post-Vedic 
period,  a  complicated  system  of  hells  had  been  ela- 

Some  passages  of  the  Rigveda  distinguish  the  path 
of  the  fathers  or  dead  ancestors  from  the  path  of 
the  gods,  doubtless  because  cremation  appeared  as  a 
different  process  from  sacrifice.  In  the  Brahmanas  the 
fathers  and  the  gods  are  thought  to  dwell  in  distinct 
abodes,  for  the  "  heavenly  world "  is  contrasted  with 
the  "  world  of  the  fathers." 

The  chief  of  the  blessed  dead  is  Yama,  to  whom 
three  entire  hymns  are  addressed.  He  is  spoken  of  as 
a  king  who  rules  the  departed  and  as  a  gatherer  of  the 
people,  who  gives  the  deceased  a  resting-place  and 
prepares  an  abode  for  him.  Yama  it  was  who  first 
discovered  the  way  to  the  other  world  : — 

Him  who  along  the  mighty  heights  departed. 

Him  who  searched  and  spied  out  the  path  for  many, 

Son  of  Vivasvat,  gatherer  of  the  people, 

Yama  the  king,  with  sacrifices  woiship.  (x.  14,  1). 

Though  death  is  the  path  of  Yama,  and  he  must 
consequently  have  been  regarded  with  a  certain  amount 
of  fear,  he  is  not  yet  in  the  Rigveda,  as  in  the  Atharva- 
veda  and  the  later  mythology,  a  god  of  death.  The  owl 
and  pigeon  are  occasionally  mentioned  as  emissaries 
of  Yama,  but  his  regular  messengers  are  two  dogs 
which  guard  the  path  trodden  by  the  dead  proceeding 
to  the  other  world. 


With  reference  to  them  the  deceased  man  is  thus 
addressed  in  one  of  the  funeral  hymns  (x.  14)  : — 

Run  on  thy  path  straight  forward  past  the  two  dogs, 
The  sons  of  Sarama,  four-eyed  a7id  brindled, 
Draw  near  thereafter  to  the  bounteous  fathers, 
Who  revel  on  in  company  with  Yama. 

Broad-nosed  and  brown,  the  messengers  of  Yama, 
Greedy  of  lives,  wander  among  the  people  : 
May  they  give  back  to  us  a  life  auspicious 
Here  and  to-day,  that  we  may  see  the  sunlight. 

The  name  of  Yama  is  sometimes  used  in  the  Rigveda 
in  its  primary  sense  of  "twin,"  and  the  chief  of  the 
dead  actually  occurs  in  this  character  throughout  a 
hymn  (x.  10)  of  much  poetic  beauty,  consisting  of  a 
dialogue  between  him  and  his  sister  Yaml.  She  en- 
deavours to  win  his  love,  but  he  repels  her  advances 
with  these  words  : — 

The  spies  sent  by  the  gods  here  ever  wander, 
They  stand  not  still,  nor  close  their  eyes  in  slumber  : 
Another  man  thine  arms  shall  clasp,  0  Yami, 
Tightly  as  twines  around  the  tree  the  creeper. 

The  incestuous  union  which  forms  the  main  theme 
of  the  poem,  though  rejected  as  contrary  to  the  higher 
ethical  standard  of  the  Rigveda,  was  doubtless  the  sur- 
vival of  an  already  existing  myth  of  the  descent  of 
mankind  from  primeval  "  twins."  This  myth,  indeed, 
seems  to  have  been  handed  down  from  the  Indo-Iranian 
period,  for  the  later  Avestan  literature  makes  mention  of 
Yimeh  as  a  sister  of  Yima.  Even  the  name  of  Yama's 
father  goes  back  to  that  period,  for  Yima  is  the  son  of 
Vivanhvant  in  the. Avesta  as  Yama  is  of  Vivasvat  in  the 

The  great  bulk  of  the  Rigvedic  poems  comprises  in- 


vocations  of  gods  or  deified  objects  as  described  in 
the  foregoing  pages.  Scattered  among  them  are  to 
be  found,  chiefly  in  the  tenth  book,  about  a  dozen 
mythological  pieces  consisting  of  dialogues  which,  in 
a  vague  and  fragmentary  way,  indicate  the  course  of 
the  action  and  refer  to  past  events.  In  all  likelihood 
they  were  originally  accompanied  by  a  narrative  set- 
ting in  prose,  which  explained  the  situation  more  fully 
to  the  audience,  but  was  lost  after  these  poems  were 
incorporated  among  the  collected  hymns  of  the  Rig- 
veda.  One  of  this  class  (iv.  42)  is  a  colloquy  between 
Indra  and  Varuna,  in  which  each  of  these  leading  gods 
puts  forward  his  claims  to  pre-eminence.  Another, 
which  shows  considerable  poetic  merit  and  presents 
the  situation  clearly,  is  a  dialogue  in  alternate  verses 
between  Varuna  and  Agni  (x.  51),  followed  by  a  second 
(x.  52)  between  the  gods  and  Agni,  who  has  grown 
weary  of  his  sacrificial  office,  but  finally  agrees  to  con- 
tinue the  performance  of  his  duties. 

A  curious  but  prosaic  and  obscure  hymn  (x.  86), 
consists  of  a  dialogue  between  Indra  and  his  wife  IndranI 
on  the  subject  of  a  monkey  which  has  incurred  the 
anger  of  the  latter.  The  circumstances  are  much  more 
clearly  presented  in  a  poem  of  great  beauty  (x.  108),  in 
which  Sarama,  the  messenger  of  Indra,  having  tracked 
the  stolen  cows,  demands  them  back  from  the  Panis. 
Another  already  referred  to  (p.  107)  treats  the  myth  of 
UrvacI  and  Pururavas.  The  dialogue  takes  place  at  the 
moment  when  the  nymph  is  about  to  quit  her  mortal 
lover  for  ever.  A  good  deal  of  interest  attaches  to  this 
myth,  not  only  as  the  oldest  Indo-European  love-story, 
but  as  one  which  has  had  a  long  history  in  Indian 
literature.  The  dialogue  of  Yama  and  YamI  (x.  10)  is, 


as  we  have  seen,  based  on  a  still  older  myth.  These 
mythological  ballads,  if  I  may  use  the  expression, 
foreshadow  the  dramatic  and  epic  poetry  of  a  later 

A  very  small  number,  hardly  more  than  thirty 
altogether,  of  the  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  are  not 
addressed  to  the  gods  or  deified  objects.  About  a 
dozen  poems,  occurring  almost  exclusively  in  the  tenth 
book,  are  concerned  with  magical  notions,  and  therefore 
belong  rather  to  the  domain  of  the  Atharva-veda.  Two 
short  ones  (ii.  42-43)  belong  to  the  sphere  of  augury, 
certain  birds  of  omen  being  invoked  to  utter  auspicious 
cries.  Two  others  consist  of  spells  directed  against 
poisonous  vermin  (i.  191),  and  the  disease  called  yaks/ima 
(x.  163).  Two  are  incantations  to  preserve  the  life  of 
one  lying  at  the  point  of  death  (x.  58;  60,  7-12).  A 
couple  of  stanzas  from  one  of  the  latter  may  serve  as  a 
specimen  : — 

Just  as  a  yoke  with  leathern  thong 
They  fasten  on  that  it  may  hold  : 
So  have  I  now  held  fast  thy  soul, 
That  thou  mayst  live  and  mayst  not  die, 
Anon  to  be  unhurt  and  well. 

Downward  is  blown  the  blast  of  wind, 
Downward  the  burning  sunbeams  shoot, 
A  down  the  milk  streams  fro?n  the  cow : 
So  downward  may  thy  ailmoit  go. 

Here  is  a  stanza  from  a  poem  intended  as  a  charm 
to  induce  slumber  (v.  55)  : — 

The  man  who  sits  and  he  who  walks, 
And  he  who  sees  us  with  his  gaze  : 
Of  these  we  now  close  up  the  eyes, 
Just  as  we  shut  this  dwelling-house. 


The  first  three  stanzas  of  this  lullaby  end  with  the 
refrain,  "  Fall  fast  asleep  "  (ni  shu  shvapd). 

The  purpose  of  one  incantation  (x.  183)  is  to  procure 
children,  while  another  (x.  162)  is  directed  against  the 
demon  that  destroys  offspring.  There  is  also  a  spell 
(x.  166)  aiming  at  the  destruction  of  enemies.  We 
further  find  the  incantation  (x.  145)  of  a  woman  desir- 
ing to  oust  her  rival  wives  from  the  affections  of  her 
husband.  A  sequel  to  it  is  formed  by  the  song  of 
triumph  (x.  159)  of  one  who  has  succeeded  in  this 
object : — 

Up  has  arisen  there  the  sun, 
So  too  my  fortunes  now  arise  : 
With  craft  victorious  I  have  gained 
Over  my  lord  this  victory. 

My  sons  now  mighty  warriors  are. 
My  daughter  is  a  princess  now, 
And  I  myself  have  gained  the  day  : 
My  name  stands  highest  with  my  lord. 

Vanquished  have  I  these  rival  wives, 
Rising  superior  to  them  all, 
That  over  this  heroic  man 
And  all  this  people  I  may  rule. 

With  regard  to  a  late  hymn  (vii.  103),  which  is  entirely 
secular  in  style,  there  is  some  doubt  as  to  its  original 
purpose.  The  awakening  of  the  frogs  at  the  'beginning 
of  the  rainy  season  is  here  described  with  a  graphic 
power  which  will  doubtless  be  appreciated  best  by  those 
who  have  lived  in  India.  The  poet  compares  the  din  of 
their  croaking  with  the  chants  of  priests  exhilarated  by 
soma,  and  with  the  clamour  of  pupils  at  school  repeating 
the  words  of  their  teacher  : — 

Resting  in  silence  for  a  year, 
As  Brah?nans  practising  a  vow, 


The  frogs  have  lifted  up  their  voice, 
Excited  when  Parjanya  comes. 

When  one  repeats  the  uttera?ice  of  the  other 
Like  those  who  learn  the  lesson  of  their  teacher •, 
Then  every  limb  of  yours  seems  to  be  swelling, 
As  eloquent  ye  prate  upon  the  waters. 

As  Brahmans  at  the  mighty  soma  offeri?ig 

Sit  round  the  large  and  brimming  vessel  talking, 

So  throng  ye  round  the  pool  to  hallow 

This  day  of  all  the  year  that  brings  the  rain-time. 

These  Brahmans  with  their  soma  raise  their  voices, 
Performing  punctually  their  yearly  worship  ; 
And  these  Adhvaryus,  sweating  with  their  kettles, 
These  priests  come  forth  to  view,  and  none  are  hidden. 

The  twelvemonth's  god-sent  order  they  have  guarded, 
And  ?iever  do  these  me?i  neglect  the  season. 
When  in  the  year  the  rai?iy  tinie  commences, 
Those  who  were  heated  kettles  gain  deliverance. 

This  poem  has  usually  been  interpreted  as  a  satire 
upon  the  Brahmans.  If  such  be  indeed  its  purport,  we 
find  it  difficult  to  conceive  how  it  could  have  gained 
admittance  into  a  collection  like  the  Rzgveda,  which,  if 
not  entirely  composed,  was  certainly  edited,  by  priests. 
The  Brahmans  cannot  have  been  ignorant  of  the  real 
significance  of  the  poem.  On  the  other  hand,  the  com- 
parison of  frogs  with  Brahmans  would  not  necessarily 
imply  satire  to  the  Vedic  Indian.  Students  familiar  with 
the  style  of  the  Rigveda  know  that  many  similes  which, 
if  used  by  ourselves,  would  involve  contempt  or  ridicule, 
were  employed  by  the  ancient  Indian  poets  only  for  the 
sake  of  graphic  effect.  As  the  frogs  are  in  the  last  stanza 
besought  to  grant  wealth  and  length  of  days,  it  is  much 
more  likely  that  we  have  here  a  panegyric  of  frogs  be- 
lieved to  have  the  magical  power  of  bringing  rain. 


There  remain  about  twenty  poems  the  subject-matter 
of  which  is  of  a  more  or  less  secular  character.  They 
deal  with  social  customs,  the  liberality  of  patrons, 
ethical  questions,  riddles,  and  cosmogonic  speculations. 
Several  of  them  are  of  high  importance  for  the  history  of 
Indian  thought  and  civilisation.  As  social  usages  have 
always  been  dominated  by  religion  in  India,  it  is  natural 
that  the  poems  dealing  with  them  should  have  a  religious 
and  mythological  colouring.  The  most  notable  poem 
of  this  kind  is  the  long  wedding-hymn  (x.  85)  of  forty- 
seven  stanzas.  Lacking  in  poetic  unity,  it  consists  of 
groups  of  verses  relating  to  the  marriage  ceremonial 
loosely  strung  together.  The  opening  stanzas  (1-5),  in 
which  the  identity  of  the  celestial  soma  and  of  the  moon 
is  expressed  in  veiled  terms,  are  followed  by  others 
(6-17)  relating  the  myth  of  the  wedding  of  Soma  the 
moon  with  the  sun-maiden  Surya.  The  Acvins,  else- 
where her  spouses,  here  appear  in  the  inferior  capacity 
of  groomsmen,  who,  on  behalf  of  Soma,  sue  for  the 
hand  of  Surya  from  her  father,  the  sun-god.  Savitri 
consents,  and  sends  his  daughter,  a  willing  bride,  to 
her  husband's  house  on  a  two-wheeled  car  made  of  the 
wood  of  the  calmali  or  silk-cotton  tree,  decked  with 
red  kimguka  flowers,  and  drawn  by  two  white  bulls. 

Then  sun  and  moon,  the  prototype  of  human  mar- 
riage, are  described  as  an  inseparable  pair  (18-19)  : — 

They  move  alternately  with  mystic  power ; 
Like  children  playing  they  go  round  the  sacrifice  : 
0?ie  of  the  two  surveys  all  living  beings, 
The  other,  seasons  meting  out,  is  born  again. 

Ever  a?iew,  being  born  again,  he  rises, 
He  goes  in  front  of  dawns  as  daylighfs  token. 
He,  coming,  to  the  gods  their  share  apportions  ; 
The  moon  extends  the  length  of  marts  existence. 


Blessings  are  then  invoked  on  the  wedding  proces- 
sion, an$J  a  wish  expressed  that  the  newly-married  couple 
may  have  many  children  and  enjoy  prosperity,  long  life, 
and  freedom  from  disease  (20-33). 

The  next  two  stanzas  (34-35),  containing  some  obscure 
references  to  the  bridal  garments,  are  followed  by  six 
others  (36-41)  pronounced  at  the  wedding  rite,  which  is 
again  brought  into  connection  with  the  marriage  of  Surya. 
The  bridegroom  here  thus  addresses  the  bride  : — 

\I  grasp  thy  hand  that  I  may  gam  good  fortune, 
That  thou  mafst  reach  old  age  with  me  thy  husband. 
Bhaga,  Aryai?ian,  Savitri,  Puramdhi, 
The  gods  have  given  thee  to  share  my  household. 

The  god  of  fire  is  at  the  same  time  invoked  : — 

To  thee,  O  Agni,first  they  led 
Bright  Surya  with  the  bridal  throng  : 
So  in  thy  turn  to  husbands  give 
A  wife  alotig  with  progeny. 

The  concluding  verses  (42-47)  are  benedictions  pro- 
nounced on  the  newly- wedded  couple  after  the  bride  has 
arrived  at  her  future  home  : — 

Here  abide;  be  not  divided; 
Complete  life's  whole  allotted  span, 
Playing  with  your  sons  and  grandsons, 
Rejoicing  in  your  own  abode. 

The  last  stanza  of  all  is  spoken  by  the  bridegroom  : — 

May  all  the  gods  us  two  unite, 
May  Waters  now  our  hearts  entwine; 
May  Mdtaricvan  and  Dhatri, 
May  Deshtri  us  together -join. 

There  are  five  hymns,  all  in  the  last  book  (x.  14-18), 
which  are  more  or  less   concerned  with  funeral  rites. 


All  but  one  of  them,  however,  consist  chiefly  of  invoca- 
tions of  gods  connected  with  the  future  life.  The  first 
(14)  is  addressed  to  Yama,  the  next  to  the  Fathers,  the 
third  to  Agni,  and  the  fourth  to  Pushan,  as  well  as 
Sarasvatl.  Only  the  last  (18)  is  a  funeral  hymn  in  the 
true  sense.  It  is  secular  in  style  as  well  as  in  matter, 
being  almost  free  from  references  to  any  of  the  gods. 
Grave  and  elevated  in  tone,  it  is  distinguished  by  great 
beauty  of  language.  It  also  yields  more  information 
about  the  funeral  usages  of  those  early  days  than  any 
of  the  rest. 

From  this  group  of  hymns  it  appears  that  burial  was 
practised  as  well  as  cremation  by  the  Vedic  Indians. 
The  composer  of  a  hymn  addressed  to  Varuna  in  Book 
VII.  also  mentions  "the  house  of  clay"  in  connection 
with  death.  Cremation  was,  however,  the  usual  manner 
of  disposing  of  the  dead,  and  the  later  Vedic  ritual 
practically  knew  this  method  alone,  sanctioning  only 
the  burial  of  ascetics  and  children  under  two  years  of 
age.  With  the  rite  of  cremation,  too,  the  mythological 
notions  about  the  future  life  were  specially  connected. 
Thus  Agni  conducts  the  corpse  to  the  other  world,  where 
the  gods  and  Fathers  dwell.  A  goat  was  sacrificed  when 
the  corpse  was  burned,  and  this  goat,  according  to  the 
Atharva-veda  (ix.  5,  1  and  3),  preceded  and  announced  the 
deceased  to  the  fathers,  just  as  in  the  Rigveda  the  goat 
immolated  with  the  sacrificial  horse  goes  before  to 
announce  the  offering  to  the  gods  (i.  162-163).  In  the 
later  Vedic  ritual  a  goat  or  cow  was  sacrificed  as  the 
body  was  cremated. 

In  conformity  with  a  custom  of  remotest  antiquity 
still  surviving  in  India,  the  dead  man  was  provided 
with  ornaments  and  clothing  for  use  in  the  future  life. 


The  fact  that  in  the  funeral  obsequies  of  the  Rigveda 
the  widow  lies  down  beside  the  body  of  her  deceased 
husband  and  his  bow  is  removed  from  the  dead  man's 
hand,  shows  that  both  were  in  earlier  times  burnt  with 
his  body  to  accompany  him  to  the  next  world,  and  a 
verse  of  the  Atharva-veda  calls  the  dying  of  the  widow 
with  her  husband  an  old  custom.  The  evidence  of 
anthropology  shows  that  this  was  a  very  primitive  prac- 
tice widely  prevailing  at  the  funerals  of  military  chiefs, 
and  it  can  be  proved  to  go  back  to  the  Indo-European 

The  following  stanza  (8)  from  the  last  funeral  hymn 
(x.  1 8)  is  addressed  to  the  widow,  who  is  called  upon  to 
rise  from  the  pyre  and  take  the  hand  of  her  new  husband, 
doubtless  a  brother  of  the  deceased,  in  accordance  with 
an  ancient  marriage  custom  : — 

Rise  up  j  come  to  the  wo?- id  of  life,  O  woman; 
Thou  liest  here  by  one  whose  soul  has  left  him. 
Come  :  thou  hast  now  entered  upon  the  wifehood 
Of  this  thy  lord  who  takes  thy  hand  and  woos  thee. 

The  speaker  then,  turning  to  the  deceased  man, 
exclaims  : — 

From  the  dead  hand  I  take  the  bow  he  wielded, 
To  gain  for  us  dominion,  might,  and  glory. 
Thou  there,  we  here,  rich  in  heroic  offspring, 
Will  vanquish  all  assaults  of  every  foeman. 

Approach  the  bosom  of  the  earth,  the  mother, 
This  earth  extending  far  and  most  propitious  : 
Young,  soft  as  wool  to  bounteous  givers,  may  she 
Preserve  thee  from  the  lap  of 'dissolution. 

Open  wide,  O  earth,  press  not  heavily  on  him, 
Be  easy  of  approach,  hail  him  with  kindly  aid; 
As  with  a  robe  a  mother  hides 
Her  son,  so  shroud  this  man^  0  earth. 


Referring  to  the  bystanders  he  continues  : — 

These  living  ones  are  from  the  dead  divided : 

Our  calling  on  the  gods  is  now  auspicious. 

We  have  come  fo?'th  prepared  for  dance  and  laughter. 

Till  future  days  prolonging  our  existence. 

As  days  in  order  follow  otie  another, 
As  seasons  duly  alternate  with  seasons, 
As  the  later  never  forsakes  the  earlier, 
So  fashion  thou  the  lives  of  these,  Ordainer. 

A  few  of  the  secular  poems  contain  various  his- 
torical references.  These  are  the  so-called  Ddnastutis 
or  "  Praises ,  of  Gifts/'  panegyrics  commemorating  the 
liberality  of  princes  towards  the  priestly  singers  em- 
ployed by  them.  They  possess  little  poetic  merit,  and 
are  of  late  date,  occurring  chiefly  in  the  first  and  tenth 
books,  or  among  the  Vdlakhilya  (supplementary)  hymns 
of  the  eighth.  A  number  of  encomia  of  this  type, 
generally  consisting  of  only  two  or  three  stanzas,  are 
appended  to  ordinary  hymns  in  the  eighth  book  and, 
much  less  commonly,  in  most  of  the  other  books.  Chiefly 
concerned  in  describing  the  kind  and  the  amount  of 
the  gifts  bestowed  on  them,  the  composers  of  these 
panegyrics  incidentally  furnish  historical  data  about  the 
families  and  genealogies  of  themselves  and  their  patrons, 
as  well  as  about  the  names  and  homes  of  the  Vedic 
tribes.  The  amount  of  the  presents  bestowed — for  in- 
stance, 60,000  cows — is  sometimes  enormously  exagge- 
rated. We  may,  however,  safely  conclude  that  it  was 
often  considerable,  and  that  the  Vedic  chiefs  possessed 
very  large  herds  of  cattle. 

Four  of  the  secular  poems  are  didactic  in  character. 
One  of  these  (x.  34),  "  The  Lament  of  the  Gambler,"  strikes 
a  pathetic  note.     Considering  that  it  is  the  oldest  com- 


position  of  the  kind  in  existence,  we  cannot  but  regard 
this  poem  as  a  most  remarkable  literary  product.  The 
gambler  deplores  his  inability  to  throw  off  the  spell  of 
the  dice,  though  he  sees  the  ruin  they  are  bringing  on 
him  and  his  household  : — 

Downward  they  fall,  then  nimbly  leaping  up7vard, 
They  overpower  the  man  with  hands,  though  handless. 
Cast  on  the  board  like  magic  bits  of  charcoal, 
Though  cold  themselves,  they  burn  the  heart  to  ashes. 

It  pains  the  gambler  when  he  sees  a  woman, 
Another* s  wife,  and  their  well-ordered  household  : 
He  yokes  these  brown  steeds  early  in  the  morning, 
And,  when  the  fire  is  low,  sinks  down  an  outcast. 

"  Play  not  with  dice,  but  cultivate  thy  cornfield; 
Rejoice  in  thy  goods,  deeming  them  abundant : 
There  are  thy  cows,  there  is  thy  wife,  0  gambler? 
This  counsel  Savitri  the  kindly  gives  me. 

We  learn  here  that  the  dice  (akshd)  were  made  of  the 
nut  of  the  Vibhldaka  tree  {Terminalia  bellericd)y  which 
is  still  used  for  the  purpose  in  India. 

The  other  three  poems  of  this  group  may  be  re- 
garded as  the  forerunners  of  the  sententious  poetry 
which  flourished  so  luxuriantly  in  Sanskrit  literature. 
One  of  them,  consisting  only  of  four  stanzas  (ix.  112), 
describes  in  a  moralising  strain  of  mild  humour  how 
men  follow  after  gain  in  various  ways  : — 

The  thoughts  of  men  are  manifold, 
Their  callings  are  of  diverse  kinds; 
The  carpenter  desires  a  rift, 
The  leech  a  fracture  wants  to  cure. 

A  poet  I j  my  dad's  a  leech  j 
Mama  the  upper  millstone  grinds  : 
With  various  minds  we  strive  for  wealth, 
As  ever  seeking  after  kine. 


Another  of  these  poems  (x.  117)  consists  of  a  collec- 
tion of  maxims  inculcating  the  duty  of  well-doing  and 
charity  : — 

Who  has  the  power  should  give  unto  the  needy, 
Regarding  well  the  course  of  life  hereafter  : 
Fortune,  like  two  chariot  wheels  revolving, 
Now  to  one  ma?i  comes  nigh,  now  to  another. 

Ploughing  the  soil,  the  share  produces  ?iurturej 
He  who  bestirs  his  feet  performs  his  journey  J 
A  priest  who  speaks  earns  more  than  one  who's  silent; 
A  friend  who  gives  is  better  than  the  niggard. 

The  fourth  of  these  poems  (x.  71)  is  composed  in 
praise  of  wise  speech.  Here  are  four  of  its  eleven 
stanzas  : — 

Where  clever  men  their  words  with  wisdom  utter, 
And  sift  them  as  with  flail  the  corn  is  winnowed, 
There  friends  may  recognise  each  other 's  friendship  : 
A  goodly  stamp  is  on  their  speech  imprinted. 

Whoever  his  congenial  friend  abandons, 
In  that  man's  speech  there  is  not  any  blessing. 
For  what  he  hears  he  hears  without  advantage  : 
He  has  no  knowledge  of  the  path  of  virtue. 

When  Brahma7i  friends  unite  to  offer  worship, 
In  hymns  by  the  heart's  impulse  swiftly  fashioned. 
Then  not  a  few  are  left  behind  in  wisdom, 
While  others  win  their  way  as  gifted  Brahmans. 

The  one  sits  putting  forth  rich  bloom  of  verses, 
Another  sings  a  song  in  skilful  numbers, 
A  third  as  teacher  states  the  laws  of  'being, 
A  fourth  metes  out  the  sacrifice's  measure. 

Even  in  the  ordinary  hymns  are  to  be  found  a  few 
moralising  remarks  of  a  cynical  nature  about  wealth 
and  women,  such  as  frequently  occur  in  the  ethical 
literature    of    the    post  -  Vedic    age.      Thus    one    poet 


exclaims  :  "  How  many  a  maiden  is  an  object  of 
affection  to  her  wooer  for  the  sake  of  her  admirable 
wealth!"  (x.  27,  12);  while  another  addresses  the  kine 
he  desires  with  the  words  :  "  Ye  cows  make  even  the 
lean  man  fat,  even  the  ugly  man  ye  make  of  goodly 
countenance "  (vi.  28,  6).  A  third  observes :  "  Indra 
himself  said  this,  'The  mind  of  woman  is  hard  to  in- 
struct, and  her  intelligence  is  small'"  (viii.  33,  17);  and 
a  fourth  complains:  " There  are  no  friendships  with 
women;  their  hearts  are  those  of  hyenas"  (x.  95,  15). 
One,  however,  admits  that  "  many  a  woman  is  better  than 
the  godless  and  niggardly  man  "  (v.  61,  6). 

Allied  to  the  didactic  poems  are  the  riddles,  of  which 
there  are  at  least  two  collections  in  the  Rigveda.  In 
their  simplest  form  they  are  found  in  a  poem  (29)  of  the 
eighth  book.  In  each  of  its  ten  stanzas  a  different  deity 
is  described  by  his  characteristic  marks,  but  without 
being  mentioned,  the  hearer  being  left  to  guess  his 
name.     Vishnu,  for  instance,  is  thus  alluded  to  : — 

Another  with  his  mighty  stride  has  made  three  steps 
To  where  the  gods  rejoice  in  bliss. 

A  far  more  difficult  collection,  consisting  of  fifty-two 
stanzas,  occurs  in  the  first  book  (164).  Nothing  here  is 
directly  described,  the  language  being  always  symbolical 
and  mystical.  The  allusions  in  several  cases  are  so 
obscurely  expressed  that  it  is  now  impossible  to  divine 
the  meaning.  Sometimes  the  riddle  is  put  in  the  form  of 
a  question,  and  in  one  case  the  answer  itself  is  also  given. 
Occasionally  the  poet  propounds  a  riddle  of  which  he 
himself  evidently  does  not  know  the  solution.  In  general 
these  problems  are  stated  as  enigmas.  The  subject  of 
about  one-fourth  of  them  is  the  sun.     Six  or  seven  deal 


with  clouds,  lightning,  and  the  production  of  rain  ;  three 
or  four  with  Agni  and  his  various  forms  ;  about  the  same 
number  with  the  year  and  its  divisions  ;  two  with  the 
origin  of  the  world  and  the  One  Being.  The  dawn, 
heaven  and  earth,  the  metres,  speech,  and  some  other 
subjects  which  can  hardly  even  be  conjectured,  are  dealt 
with  in  one  or  two  stanzas  respectively.  One  of  the 
more  clearly  expressed  of  these  enigmas  is  the  following, 
which  treats  of  the  wheel  of  the  year  with  its  twelve 
months  and  three  hundred  and  sixty  days  : — 

Provided  with  twelve  spokes  and  undecaying, 
The  wheel  of  order  rolls  around  the  heavens; 
Within  it  stand,  O  Agni,  joined  in  couples, 
Together  seven  hundred  sons  and  twenty. 

The  thirteenth  or  intercalary  month,  contrasted  with 
the  twelve  others  conceived  as  pairs,  is  thus  darkly 
alluded  to  :  "  Of  the  co-born  they  call  the  seventh  single- 
born  ;  sages  call  the  six  twin  pairs  god-born."  The 
latter  expression  probably  alludes  to  the  intercalary 
month  being  an  artificial  creation  of  man.  In  the  later 
Vedic  age  it  became  a  practice  to  propound  such  enig- 
mas, called  "  theological  problems  "  {brahmodya)y  in  con- 
tests for  intellectual  pre-eminence  when  kings  instituted 
great  sacrifices  or  Brahmans  were  otherwise  assembled 

Closely  allied  to  these  poetical  riddles  is  the  philoso- 
phical poetry  contained  in  the  six  or  seven  cosmogonic 
hymns  of  the  Rigveda.  The  question  of  the  origin  of 
the  world  here  treated  is  of  course  largely  mixed  with 
mythological  and  theological  notions.  Though  betraying 
much  confusion  of  ideas,  these  early  speculations  are 
of  great  interest  as  the  sources  from  which  flow  various 
streams  of  later  thought.     Most  of  these  hymns  handle 


the  subject  of  the  origin  of  the  world  in  a  theological, 
and  only  one  in  a  purely  philosophical  spirit.  In  the 
view  of  the  older  Rishis,  the  gods  in  general,  or  various 
individual  deities,  "  generated  "  the  world.  This  view  con- 
flicts with  the  frequently  expressed  notion  that  heaven 
and  earth  are  the  parents  of  the  gods.  The  poets  thus 
involve  themselves  in  the  paradox  that  the  children 
produce  their  own  parents.  Indra,  for  instance,  is  de- 
scribed in  so  many  words  as  having  begotten  his  father 
and  mother  from  his  own  body  (x.  54,  3).  This  conceit 
evidently  pleased  the  fancy  of  a  priesthood  becoming 
more  and  more  addicted  to  far-fetched  speculations ; 
for  in  the  cosmogonic  hymns  we  find  reciprocal  genera- 
tion more  than  once  introduced  in  the  stages  of  crea- 
tion. Thus  Daksha  is  said  to  have  sprung  from  Aditi, 
and  Aditi  from  Daksha  (x.  72,  4). 

The  evolution  of  religious  thought  in  the  Rigveda  led 
to  the  conception  of  a  creator  distinct  from  any  of  the 
chief  deities  and  superior  to  all  the  gods.  He  appears 
under  the  various  names  of  Purusha,  Vicvakarman, 
Hiranyagarbha,  or  Prajapati  in  the  cosmogonic  hymns. 
Whereas  creation,  according  to  the  earlier  view,  is 
regularly  referred  to  as  an  act  of  natural  generation  with 
some  form  of  the  verb  jan,  "to  beget,"  these  cosmogonic 
poems  speak  of  it  as  the  manufacture  or  evolution  from 
some  original  material.  In  one  of  them  (x.  90),  the 
well-known  Hymn  of  Man  (purusha-sukta),  the  gods  are 
still  the  agents,  but  the  material  out  of  which  the  world 
is  made  consists  of  the  body  of  a  primeval  giant,  Purusha 
(man),  who  being  thousand-headed  and  thousand-footed, 
extends  even  beyond  the  earth,  as  he  covers  it.  The 
fundamental  idea  of  the  world  being  created  from  the 
body  of  a  giant  is,  indeed,  very  ancient,  being  met  with 

HYMN  OF  MAN  133 

in  several  primitive  mythologies.  But  the  manner  in 
which  the  idea  is  here  worked  out  is  sufficiently  late. 
Quite  in  the  spirit  of  the  Brahmanas,  where  Vishnu  is 
identified  with  the  sacrifice,  the  act  of  creation  is  treated 
as  a  sacrificial  rite,  the  original  man  being  conceived  as 
a  victim,  the  parts  of  which  when  cut  up  become  portions 
of  the  universe.  His  head,  we  are  told,  became  the  sky, 
his  navel  the  air,  his  feet  the  earth,  while  from  his  mind 
sprang  the  moon,  from  his  eye  the  sun,  from  his  breath 
the  wind.  "  Thus  they  (the  gods)  fashioned  the  worlds." 
Another  sign  of  the  lateness  of  the  hymn  is  its  pantheistic 
colouring ;  for  it  is  here  said  that  u  Purusha  is  all  this 
world,  what  has  been  and  shall  be,"  and  "  one-fourth 
of  him  is  all  creatures,  and  three-fourths  are  the  world 
of  the  immortals  in  heaven."  In  the  Brahmanas,  Purusha 
is  the  same  as  the  creator,  Prajapati,  and  in  the 
Upanishads  he  is  identified  with  the  universe.  Still 
later,  in  the  dualistic  Sankhya  philosophy,  Purusha  be- 
comes the  name  of  "  soul "  as  opposed  to  "  matter."  In 
the  Hymn  of  Man  a  being  called  Viraj  is  mentioned 
as  produced  from  Purusha.  This  in  the  later  Vedanta 
philosophy  is  a  name  of  the  personal  creator  as  con- 
trasted with  Brahma,  the  universal  soul.  The  Purusha 
hymn,  then,  may  be  regarded  as  the  oldest  product 
of  the  pantheistic  literature  of  India.  It  is  at  the  same 
time  one  of  the  very  latest  poems  of  the  Rigvedic  age  ; 
for  it  presupposes  a  knowledge  of  the  three  oldest 
Vedas,  to  which  it  refers  together  by  name.  It  also  for 
the  first  and  only  time  in  the  Rigveda  mentions  the  four 
castes  ;  for  it  is  here  said  that  Purusha's  mouth  became 
the  Brahman,  his  arms  the  Rajanya  (warrior),  his  thighs 
the  Vaigya  (agriculturist),  and  his  feet  the  (^udra  (serf). 
In  nearly  all  the  other  poems  dealing  with  the  origin 


of  the  world,  not  the  gods  collectively  but  an  individual 
creator  is  the  actor.  Various  passages  in  other  hymns 
show  that  the  sun  was  regarded  as  an  important  agent 
of  generation  by  the  Rishis.  Thus  he  is  described  as 
"the  soul  of  all  that  moves  and  stands"  (i.  115,  1),  and  is 
said  to  be  "called  by  many  names  though  one  "  (i.  164, 46). 
Such  statements  indicate  that  the  sun  was  in  process 
of  being  abstracted  to  the  character  of  a  creator.  This 
is  probably  the  origin  of  Vicvakarman,  "the  all-creating," 
to  whom  two  cosmogonic  hymns  (x.  81-82)  are  addressed. 
Three  of  the  seven  stanzas  of  the  first  deserve  to  be 
quoted  : — 

What  was  the  place  on  which  he  gained  a  footing1? 
Where  found  he  anything,  or  how,  to  hold  by, 
What  time,  the  earth  creating,  Vicvakarma?i, 
All-seeing,  with  his  inight  disclosed  the  heavens  ? 

Who  has  his  eyes  and  mouth  in  every  quarter, 
Whose  arms  and  feet  are  turned  in  all  directions, 
The  one  god,  when  the  earth  and  heaven  creating, 
With  his  two  arms  and  wings  together  welds  them. 

What  was  the  wood,  and  what  the  tree,  pray  tell  us, 
From  which  they  fashioned  forth  the  earth  and  heaven  ? 
Ye  sages,  in  your  mind,  pray  make  i?iquiry, 
Whereon  he  stood,  when  he  the  woi'lds  supported1? 

It  is  an  interesting  coincidence  that  "  wood/'  the  term 
here  used,  was  regularly  employed  in  Greek  philosophy 
to  express  "  original  matter  "  {hule). 

In  the  next  hymn  (x.  82),  the  theory  is  advanced 
that  the  waters  produced  the  first  germ  of  things,  the 
source  of  the  universe  and  the  gods. 

Who  is  our  father,  parent,  and  disposer, 
Who  knows  all  habitations  and  all  beings, 
Who  only  to  the  gods  their  names  apportions  ; 
To  him  all  other  beings  turn  inqtdring  t 


What  germ  primeval  did  the  waters  cherish, 
Wherein  the  gods  all  saw  themselves  together, 
Which  is  beyond  the  earth,  beyond  that  heaven, 
Beyond  the  mighty  gods'  mysterious  dwelling  ? 

That  germ  primeval  did  the  waters  cherish, 
Wherein  the  gods  together  all  assembled, 
The  One  that  in  the  goafs 1  source  is  established, 
Within  which  all  the  worlds  are  comprehended. 

Ye  cannot  find  him  who  these  worlds  created: 
That  which  comes  nearer  to  you  is  another. 

In  a  cosmogonic  poem  (x.  121)  of  considerable 
beauty  the  creator  further  appears  under  the  name  of 
Hiranyagarbha,  "  germ  of  gold/'  a  notion  doubtless 
suggested  by  the  rising  sun.  Here,  too,  the  waters 
are,  in  producing  Agni,  regarded  as  bearing  the  germ 
of  all  life. 

The  Germ  of  Gold  at  first  came  into  being, 
Produced  as  the  one  lord  of  all  existence. 
The  earth  he  has  supported  and  this  heaven  : 
What  god  shall  we  with  sacrifices  worship  ? 

Who  gives  the  breath  of  life  and  vital  power, 
To  whose  commands  the  gods  all  render  homage, 
Whose  shade  is  death  and  life  immortal  : 
What  god  shall  we  with  sacrifices  worship? 

What  time  the  mighty  waters  came  containing 
All  germs  of  life  and  generating  Agni, 
Then  was  produced  the  gods'  one  vital  spirit : 
What  god  shall  we  with  sacrifices  worship  ? 

Who  with  his  mighty  power  surveyed  the  waters 
That  intellect  and  sacrifice  engendered, 
The  one  god  over  all  the  gods  exalted : 
What  god  shall  we  with  sacrifices  worship  ? 

1  The  sun  is  probably  meant. 


The  refrain  receives  its  answer  in  a  tenth  stanza 
(added  to  the  poem  at  a  later  time),  which  proclaims 
the  unknown  god  to  be  Prajapati. 

Two  other  cosmogonic  poems  explain  the  origin  of 
the  world  philosophically  as  the  evolution  of  the  existent 
{sat)  from  the  non-existent  (asat).  In  the  somewhat 
confused  account  given  in  one  of  them  (x.  72),  three 
stages  of  creation  may  be  distinguished  :  first  the  world 
is  produced,  then  the  gods,  and  lastly  the  sun.  The 
theory  of  evolution  is  here  still  combined  with  that  of 
creation : — 

Even  as  a  smith,  the  Lord  of  Prayer, 

Together  forged  this  universe  : 

In  earliest  ages  of  the  gods 

Fro?n  what  was  not  arose  what  is. 

A  far  finer  composition  than  this  is  the  Song  of 
Creation  (x.  129) : — 

Non-being  then  existed  not,  nor  being: 

There  was  no  air,  nor  heaven  which  is  beyond  it. 

What  motion  was  there  ?     Where?    By  whom  directed! 

Was  water  there,  and  fathomless  abysses  ? 

Death  then  existed  not,  nor  life  immortal; 

Of  neither  night  nor  day  was  any  semblance. 

The  One  breathed  calm  and  windless  by  self-impulse  : 

There  was  not  any  other  thing  beyond  it. 

Darkness  at  first  was  covered  up  by  darkness; 
This  universe  was  indistinct  and  fluid. 
The  empty  space  that  by  the  void  was  hidden, 
That  One  was  by  the  force  of  heat  engendered. 

Desire  then  at  the  first  arose  within  it, 
Desire,  which  was  the  earliest  seed  of  spirit. 
The  bond  of  being  in  non-being  sages 
Discovered  searching  in  their  hearts  with  wisdom. 


Who  knows  it  truly  ?  who  can  here  declare  it  ? 
Whence  was  it  born  ?  whence  issued  this  creation  ? 
And  did  the  gods  appear  with  its  production  ? 
But  then  who  knows  from  whence  it  has  arisen  ? 

This  world- creation,  whence  it  has  arisen, 
Or  whether  it  has  been  produced  or  has  not, 
He  who  surveys  it  in  the  highest  heaven, 
He  only  knows,  or  ev'n  he  does  not  know  it. 

Apart  from  its  high  literary  merit,  this  poem  is  most 
noteworthy  for  the  daring  speculations  which  find 
utterance  in  so  remote  an  age.  But  even  here  may  be 
traced  some  of  the  main  defects  of  Indian  philosophy — 
lack  of  clearness  and  consistency,  with  a  tendency  to 
make  reasoning  depend  on  mere  words.  Being  the  only 
piece  of  sustained  speculation  in  the  Rigveda,  it  is  the 
starting-point  of  the  natural  philosophy  which  assumed 
shape  in  the  evolutionary  Sankhya  system.  It  will, 
moreover,  always  retain  a  general  interest  as  the  earliest 
specimen  of  Aryan  philosophic  thought.  With  the 
theory  of  the  Song  of  Creation,  that  after  the  non- 
existent had  developed  into  the  existent,  water  came 
first,  and  then  intelligence  was  evolved  from  it  by  heat, 
the  cosmogonic  accounts  of  the  Brahmanas  substantially 
agree.  Here,  too,  the  non-existent  becomes  the  existent, 
of  which  the  first  form  is  the  waters.  On  these  floats 
Hiranyagarbha,  the  cosmic  golden  egg,  whence  is  pro- 
duced the  spirit  that  desires  and  creates  the  universe. 
Always  requiring  the  agency  of  the  creator  Prajapati  at 
an  earlier  or  a  later  stage,  the  Brahmanas  in  some  of  their 
accounts  place  him  first,  in  others  the  waters.  This 
fundamental  contradiction,  due  to  mixing  up  the  theory  of 
creation  with  that  of  evolution,  is  removed  in  the  Sankhya 
system  by  causing  Purusha,  or  soul,  to  play  the  part  of  a 


passive  spectator,  while  Prakriti,  or  primordial  matter, 
undergoes  successive  stages  of  development.  The  cos- 
mogonic  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  are  not  only  thus  the 
precursors  of  Indian  philosophy,  but  also  of  the  Puranas, 
one  of  the  main  objects  of  which  is  to  describe  the 
origin  of  the  world. 



The  survey  of  the  poetry  of  the  Rigveda  presented  in 
the  foregoing  pages  will  perhaps  suffice  to  show  that 
this  unique  monument  of  a  long-vanished  age  contains, 
apart  from  its  historical  interest,  much  of  aesthetic  value, 
and  well  deserves  to  be  read,  at  least  in  selections,  by 
every  lover  of  literature.  The  completeness  of  the 
picture  it  supplies  of  early  religious  thought  has  no 
parallel.  Moreover,  though  its  purely  secular  poems  are 
so  few,  the  incidental  references  contained  in  the  whole 
collection  are  sufficiently  numerous  to  afford  material 
for  a  tolerably  detailed  description  of  the  social  con- 
dition of  the  earliest  Aryans  in  India.  Here,  then,  we 
have  an  additional  reason  for  attaching  great  importance 
to  the  Rigveda  in  the  history  of  civilisation. 

In  the  first  place,  the  home  of  the  Vedic  tribes  is 
revealed  to  us  by  the  geographical  data  which  the 
hymns  yield.  From  these  we  may  conclude  with  cer- 
tainty that  the  Aryan  invaders,  after  having  descended 
into  the  plains,  in  all  probability  through  the  western 
passes  of  the  Hindu  Kush,  had  already  occupied  the 
north-western  corner  of  India  which  is  now  called  by 
the  Persian  name  of  Panjab,  or  "  Land  of  Five  Rivers."  l 
Mention    is    made    in    the    hymns  of   some  twenty-five 

1  The  component  parts  of  this  name  are  in  Sanskrit  pancha,  five,  and  dp, 



streams,  all  but  two  or  three  of  which  belong  to  the  Indus 
river  system.  Among  them  are  the  five  which  water  the 
territory  of  the  Pan  jab,  and,  after  uniting  in  a  single 
stream,  flow  into  the  Indus.  They  are  the  Vitasta  (now 
Jhelum),  the  Asikni  (Chenab),  the  ParushnI  (later  called 
IravatI,  "the  refreshing,"  whence  its  present  name, 
Ravi),  the  Vipac  (Beas),  ^and  the  largest  and  most 
easterly,  the  Cutudrl  (Sutlej).  Some  of  the  Vedic 
tribes,  however,  still  remained  on  the  farther  side  of 
the  Indus,  occupying  the  valleys  of  its  western  tribu- 
taries, from  the  Kubha  (Kabul),  with  its  main  affluent 
to  the  north,  the  Suvastu,  river  "of  fair  dwellings" 
(now  Swat),  to  the  Krumu  (Kurum)  and  GomatT, 
"abounding  in  cows"  (now  Gomal),  farther  south. 

Few  of  the  rivers  of  the  Rigveda  are  mentioned  more 
than  two  or  three  times  in  the  hymns,  and  several  of  them 
not  more  than  once.  The  only  names  of  frequent 
occurrence  are  those  of  the  Indus  and  the  Sarasvatl. 
One  entire  hymn  (x.  75)  is  devoted  to  its  laudation, 
but  eighteen  other  streams,  mostly  its  tributaries,  share 
its  praises  in  two  stanzas.  The  mighty  river  seems  to 
have  made  a  deep  impression  on  the  mind  of  the  poet. 
He  speaks  of  her  as  the  swiftest  of  the  swift,  surpassing 
all  other  streams  in  volume  of  water.  Other  rivers  flow  to 
her  as  lowing  cows  hasten  to  their  calf.  The  roar  and  rush 
of  her  waters  are  described  in  enthusiastic  strains  : — 

From  earth  the  sullen  roar  swells  upward  to  the  sky, 
With  brilliant  spray  she  dashes  up  unending  surge; 

As  when  the  streams  of  rain  pour  thundering  from  the  cloud, 
The  Sindhu  onward  rushes  like  a  bellowing  bull. 

The  Sindhu  (now  Sindh),  which  in  Sanskrit  simply 
means  the  "river,"  as  the  western  boundary  of  the 
Aryan  settlements,  suggested  to  the  nations  of  antiquity 


which  first  came  into  contact  with  them  in  that  quarter 
a  name  for  the  whole  peninsula.  Adopted  in  the  form 
of  Indos,  the  word  gave  rise  to  the  Greek  appellation 
India  as  the  country  of  the  Indus.  It  was  borrowed 
by  the  ancient  Persians  as  Hindu,  which  is  used  in  the 
Avesta  as  a  name  of  the  country  itself.  More  accurate 
is  the  modern  Persian  designation  Hindustan,  "  land  of 
the  Indus,"  a  name  properly  applying  only  to  that  part 
of  the  peninsula  which  lies  between  the  Himalaya  and 
Vindhya  ranges. 

Mention  is  often  made  in  the  Rigveda  of  the  sapta 
sindhavahy  or  "seven  rivers,"  which  in  one  passage  at 
least  is  synonymous  with  the  country  inhabited  by  the 
Aryan  Indians.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  same 
expression  hapta  hindu  occurs  in  the  Avesta,  though 
it  is  there  restricted  to  mean  only  that  part  of  the 
Indian  territory  which  lay  in  Eastern  Kabulistan.  If 
"seven"  is  here  intended  for  a  definite  number,  the 
"seven  rivers"  must  originally  have  meant  the  Kabul, 
the  Indus,  and  the  five  rivers  of  the  Pan  jab,  though 
later  the  SarasvatI  may  have  been  substituted  for  the 
Kabul.  For  the  SarasvatI  is  the  sacred  river  of  the 
Rigveda,  more  frequently  mentioned,  generally  as  a 
goddess,  and  lauded  with  more  fervour  than  any  other 
stream.  The  poet's  descriptions  are  often  only  appli- 
cable to  a  large  river.  Hence  Roth  and  other  distin- 
guished scholars  concluded  that  SarasvatI  is  generally 
used  by  the  poets  of  the  Rigveda  simply  as  a  sacred 
designation  of  the  Indus.  On  the  other  hand,  the  name 
in  a  few  passages  undoubtedly  means  the  small  river 
midway  between  the  Sutlej  and  the  Jumna,  which  at 
a  later  period  formed,  with  the  DrishadvatI,  the  eastern 
boundary    of    the    sacred    region    called    Brahmavarta, 


lying  to  the  south  of  Ambala,  and  commencing  some 
sixty  miles  south  of  Simla. 

This  small  river  now  loses  itself  in  the  sands  of  the 
desert,  but  the  evidence  of  ancient  river-beds  appears  to 
favour  the  conclusion  that  it  was  originally  a  tributary  of 
the  ^utudrl  (Sutlej).  It  is  therefore  not  improbable  that 
in  Vedic  times  it  reached  the  sea,  and  was  considerably 
larger  than  it  is  now.  Considering,  too,  the  special 
sanctity  which  it  had  already  acquired,  the  laudations  sup- 
posed to  be  compatible  only  with  the  magnitude  of  the 
Indus  may  not  have  seemed  too  exaggerated  when  applied 
to  the  lesser  stream.  It  is  to  be  noted  that  the  Dri- 
shadvatl,  the  "  stony  "  (now  Ghogra  or  Ghugger),  in  the 
only  passage  in  which  the  name  occurs  in  the  Rigveda,  is 
associated  with  the  SarasvatI,  Agni  being  invoked  to 
flame  on  the  banks  of  these  rivers.  This  is  perhaps 
an  indication  that  even  in  the  age  of  the  Rigveda  the 
most  easterly  limit  of  the  Indus  river  system  had  already 
acquired  a  certain  sanctity  as  the  region  in  which  the 
sacrificial  ritual  and  the  art  of  sacred  poetry  were  prac- 
tised in  the  greatest  perfection.  There  are  indications 
showing  that  by  the  end  at  least  of  the  Rigvedic  period 
some  of  the  Aryan  invaders  had  passed  beyond  this 
region  and  had  reached  the  western  limit  of  the  Gan- 
getic  river  system.  For  the  Yamuna  (now  Jumna), 
the  most  westerly  tributary  of  the  Ganges  in  the  north, 
is  mentioned  in  three  passages,  two  of  which  prove 
that  the  Aryan  settlements  already  extended  to  its  banks. 
The  Ganges  itself  is  already  known,  for  its  name  is 
mentioned  directly  in  one  passage  of  the  Rigveda  and 
indirectly  in  another.  It  is,  however,  a  noteworthy  fact 
that  the  name  of  the  Ganges  is  not  to  be  found  in  any 
of  the  other  Vedas. 


The  southward  migration  of  the  Aryan  invaders  does 
not  appear  to  have  extended,  at  the  time  when  the  hymns 
of  the  Rigveda  were  composed,  much  beyond  the  point 
where  the  united  waters  of  the  Pan  jab  flow  into  the 
Indus.  The  ocean  was  probably  known  only  from  hear- 
say, for  no  mention  is  made  of  the  numerous  mouths 
of  the  Indus,  and  fishing,  one  of  the  main  occupations  on 
the  banks  of  the  Lower  Indus  at  the  present  day,  is  quite 
ignored.  The  word  for  fish  (inatsyd),  indeed,  only 
occurs  once,  though  various  kinds  of  animals,  birds,  and 
insects  are  so  frequently  mentioned.  This  accords  with 
the  character  of  the  rivers  of  the  Pan  jab  and  Eastern 
Kabulistan,  which  are  poor  in  fish,  while  it  contrasts 
with  the  intimate  knowledge  of  fishing  betrayed  by  the 
Yajurveda,  which  was  composed  when  the  Aryans  had 
spread  much  farther  to  the  east,  and,  doubtless,  also  to 
the  south.  The  word  which  later  is  the  regular  name  for 
"  ocean  "  (sam-udra)y  seems  therefore,  in  agreement  with 
its  etymological  sense  ("  collection  of  waters  "),  to  mean 
in  the  Rigveda  only  the  lower  course  of  the  Indus, 
which,  after  receiving  the  waters  of  the  Pan  jab,  is  so  wide 
that  a  boat  in  mid-stream  is  invisible  from  the  bank.  It 
has  been  noted  in  recent  times  that  the  natives  in  this 
region  speak  of  the  river  as  the  "  sea  of  Sindh  ; "  and 
indeed  the  word  sindhu  ("  river  ")  itself  in  several  pas- 
sages of  the  Rigveda  has  practically  the  sense  of  "  sea." 
Metaphors  such  as  would  be  used  by  a  people  familiar 
with  the  ocean  are  lacking  in  the  Rigveda.  All  references 
to  navigation  point  only  to  the  crossing  of  rivers  in  boats 
impelled  by  oars,  the  main  object  being  to  reach  the  other 
bank  {para).  This  action  suggested  a  favourite  figure, 
which  remained  familiar  throughout  Sanskrit  literature. 
Thus  one  of  the  poets  of  the  Rigveda  invokes  Agni  with 


the  words,  "Take  us  across  all  woes  and  dangers  as 
across  the  river  (sindhii)  in  a  boat ;  "  and  in  the  later  litera- 
ture one  who  has  accomplished  his  purpose  or  mastered 
his  subject  is  very  frequently  described  as  "  having 
reached  the  farther  shore  "  (pdraga).  The  Atharva-veda, 
on  the  other  hand,  contains  some  passages  showing  that 
its  composers  were  acquainted  with  the  ocean. 

Mountains  are  constantly  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda, 
and  rivers  are  described  as  flowing  from  them.  The 
Himalaya  ("abode  of  snow")  range  in  general  is  evi- 
dently meant  by  the  "snowy"  (himavantaK)  mountains 
which  are  in  the  keeping  of  the  Creator.  But  no  indi- 
vidual peak  is  mentioned  with  the  exception  of  Mujavat, 
which  is  indirectly  referred  to  as  the  home  of  Soma. 
This  peak,  it  is  to  be  inferred  from  later  Vedic  literature, 
was  situated  close  to  the  Kabul  Valley,  and  was  probably 
one  of  the  mountains  to  the  south-west  of  Kashmir.  The 
Atharva-veda  also  mentions  two  other  mountains  of  the 
Himalaya.  One  of  these  is  called  Trikakud,  the  "  three- 
peaked"  (in  the  later  literature  Trikuta,  and  even  now 
Trikota),  through  the  valley  at  the  foot  of  which  flows 
the  Asiknl  (Chenab).  The  other  is  Navaprabhramcana 
("sinking  of  the  ship"),  doubtless  identical  with  the 
Naubandhana  ("binding  of  the  ship")  of  the  epic  and 
the  Manoravasarpana  of  the  ^atapatha  Brahmana,  on 
which  the  ship  of  Manu  is  said  to  have  rested  when  the 
deluge  subsided.  The  Rigveda  knows  nothing  of  the 
Vindhya  range,  which  divides  Northern  India  from  the 
southern  triangle  of  the  peninsula  called  the  Dekhan;1 
nor  does  it  mention  the  Narmada  River  (now  Nerbudda), 

1  From  the  Sanskrit  dakskina,  south,  literally  "  right,"  because  the  Indians 
faced  the  rising  sun  when  naming  the  cardinal  points. 


which  flows  immediately  south  of  and  parallel  to  that 

From  these  data  it  may  safely  be  concluded  that  the 
Aryans,  when  the  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  were  composed, 
had  overspread  that  portion  of  the  north-west  which  ap- 
pears on  the  map  as  a  fan-shaped  territory,  bounded  on 
the  west  by  the  Indus,  on  the  east  by  the  Sutlej,  and  on 
the  north  by  the  Himalaya,  with  a  fringe  of  settlements 
extending  beyond  those  limits  to  the  east  and  the  west. 
Now  the  Pan  jab  of  the  present  day  is  a  vast  arid  plain, 
from  which,  except  in  the  north-west  corner  at  Rawal 
Pindi,  no  mountains  are  visible,  and  over  which  no  mon- 
soon storms  break.  Here  there  are  no  grand  displays  of 
the  strife  of  the  elements,  but  only  gentle  showers  fall 
during  the  rainy  season,  while  the  phenomena  of  dawn 
are  far  more  gorgeous  than  elsewhere  in  the  north. 
There  is,  therefore,  some  probability  in  the  contention  of 
Professor  Hopkins,  that  only  the  older  hymns,  such  as 
those  to  Varuna  and  Ushas,  were  composed  in  the  Pan- 
jab  itself,  while  the  rest  arose  in  the  sacred  region  near 
the  Sarasvati,  south  of  the  modern  Ambala,  where  all  the 
conditions  required  by  the  Rigveda  are  found.  This  is 
more  likely  than  the  assumption  that  the  climate  of  the 
Panjab  has  radically  changed  since  the  age  of  the  Vedic 

That  the  home  of  the  Aryans  in  the  age  of  the  Rigveda 
was  the  region  indicated  is  further  borne  out  by  the 
information  the  poems  yield  about  the  products  of  the 
country,  its  flora  and  fauna.  Thus  the  soma,  the  most  im- 
portant plant  of  the  Rigveda,  is  described  as  growing  on 
the  mountains,  and  must  have  been  easily  obtainable,  as 
its  juice  was  used  in  large  quantities  for  the  daily  ritual. 
In  the  period  of  the  Brahmanas  it  was  brought  from  long 


distances,  or  substitutes  had  to  be  used  on  account  of  its 
rarity.  Thus  the  identity  of  the  original  plant  came  to 
be  lost  in  India.  The  plant  which  is  now  commonly 
used  is  evidently  quite  another,  for  its  juice  when  drunk 
produces  a  nauseating  effect,  widely  different  from  the 
feeling  of  exhilaration  dwelt  on  by  the  poets  of  the  Rig- 
veda. Nor  can  the  plant  which  the  Parsis  still  import 
from  Persia  for  the  Haoma  rite  be  identical  with  the  old 
soma.  Again,  rice,  which  is  familiar  to  the  later  Vedas 
and  regarded  in  them  as  one  of  the  necessaries  of  life,  is 
not  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda  at  all.  Its  natural  habitat 
is  in  the  south-east,  the  regular  monsoon  area,  where  the 
rainfall  is  very  abundant.  Hence  it  probably  did  not 
exist  in  the  region  of  the  Indus  river  system  when  the 
Rigveda  was  composed,  though,  in  later  times,  with  the 
practice  of  irrigation,  its  cultivation  spread  to  all  parts 
of  India.  Corn  (yavd)  was  grown  by  the  tillers  of  the 
Rigveda,  but  the  term  is  probably  not  restricted,  as  later, 
to  the  sense  of  barley. 

Among  large  trees  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda,  the  most 
important  is  the  Acvattha  ("horse-stand")  or  sacred  fig- 
tree  {Ficus  religiosa).  Its  fruit  {pippala)  is  described  as 
sweet  and  the  food  of  birds.  Its  sacredness  is  at  least 
incipient,  for  its  wood  was  used  for  soma  vessels,  and,  as 
we  learn  from  the  Atharva-veda,  also  for  the  drill  (later- 
called  pramanthd)  employed  in  producing  the  sacred  fire. 
The  latter  Veda  further  tells  us  that  the  gods  are  seated 
in  the  third  heaven  under  an  Acvattha,  which  may  indeed 
have  been  intended  in  the  Rigveda  itself  by  the  "tree 
with  fair  foliage,"  in  whose  shade  the  blessed  revel  with 
Yama.  This  tree,  now  called  Peepal,  is  still  considered 
so  sacred  that  a  Hindu  would  be  afraid  to  utter  a  false- 
hood beside  it.     But  the  Rigveda  does  not  mention  at 


all,  and  the  Atharva-veda  only  twice,  the  tree  which  is 
most  characteristic  of  India,  and  shades  with  its  wide- 
spreading  foliage  a  larger  area  than  any  other  tree  on  the 
face  of  the  earth — the  Nyagrodha  ("  growing  down- 
wards") or  banyan  (Ficus  indicd).  With  its  lofty  dome 
of  foliage  impenetrable  to  the  rays  of  the  sun  and  sup- 
ported by  many  lesser  trunks  as  by  columns,  this  great 
tree  resembles  a  vast  temple  of  verdure  fashioned  by  the 
hand  of  Nature.  What  the  village  oak  is  in  England,  that 
and  much  more  is  the  banyan  to  the  dwellers  in  the 
innumerable  hamlets  which  overspread  the  face  of  agri- 
cultural India. 

Among  wild  animals,  one  of  the  most  familiar  to  the 
poets  of  the  Rigveda  is  the  lion  (simhd).  They  describe 
him  as  living  in  wooded  mountains  and  as  caught  with 
snares,  but  the  characteristic  on  which  they  chiefly  dwell 
is  his  roaring.  In  the  vast  desert  to  the  east  of  the  Lower 
Sutlej  and  of  the  Indus,  the  only  part  of  India  suited  for 
its  natural  habitat,  the  lion  was  in  ancient  times  no  doubt 
frequent,  but  he  now  survives  only  in  the  wooded  hills 
to  the  south  of  the  peninsula  of  Gujarat.  The  king  of 
beasts  has,  however,  remained  conventionally  familiar 
in  Indian  literature,  and  his  old  Sanskrit  designation 
is  still  common  in  Hindu  names  in  the  form  of  Singh. 

The  tiger  is  not  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda  at  all,  its 
natural  home  being  the  swampy  jungles  of  Bengal, 
though  he  is  now  found  in  all  the  jungly  parts  of  India. 
But  in  the  other  Vedas  he  has  decidedly  taken  the  place 
of  the  lion,  which  is,  however,  still  known.  His  dangerous 
character  as  a  beast  of  prey  is  here  often  referred  to. 
Thus  the  White  Ydjurveda  compares  a  peculiarly 
hazardous  undertaking  with  waking  a  sleeping  tiger ; 
and  the  Atharva-veda   describes  the  animal  as  "man 


eating"  (purushdd).  The  relation  of  the  tiger  to  the 
lion  in  the  Vedas  therefore  furnishes  peculiarly  interest- 
ing evidence  of  the  eastward  migration  of  the  Aryans 
during  the  Vedic  period. 

Somewhat  similar  is  the  position  of  the  elephant.  It 
is  explicitly  referred  to  in  only  two  passages  of  the  Rig- 
veda,  and  the  form  of  the  name  applied  to  it,  "  the  beast 
(inrigd)  with  a  hand  (hastin)"  shows  that  the  Rishis  still 
regarded  it  as  a  strange  creature.  One  passage  seems  to 
indicate  that  by  the  end  of  the  Rigvedic  period  attempts 
were  made  to  catch  the  animal.  That  the  capture  of 
wild  elephants  had  in  any  case  become  a  regular  practice 
by  300  B.C.  is  proved  by  the  evidence  of  Megasthenes. 
To  the  Atharva-  and  the  Yajur-vedas  the  elephant  is 
quite  familiar,  for  it  is  not  only  frequently  mentioned, 
but  the  adjective  hastin,  " possessing  a  hand"  (i.e.  trunk), 
has  become  sufficiently  distinctive  to  be  used  by  itself  to 
designate  the  animal.  The  regular  home  of  the  elephant 
in  Northern  India  is  the  Terai  or  lowland  jungle  at  the 
foot  of  the  Himalaya,  extending  eastward  from  about  the 
longitude  of  Cawnpore. 

The  wolf  [vrikd)  is  mentioned  more  frequently  in  the 
Rigveda  than  the  lion  himself,  and  there  are  many  refer- 
ences to  the  boar  (yardhd),  which  was  hunted  with  dogs. 
The  buffalo  (inahishd),  in  the  tame  as  well  as  the  wild 
state,  was  evidently  very  familiar  to  the  poets,  who 
several  times  allude  to  its  flesh  being  cooked  and  eaten. 
There  is  only  one  reference  to  the  bear  (fiksha).  The 
monkey  (kapi)  is  only  mentioned  in  a  late  hymn  (x.  86), 
but  in  such  a  way  as  to  show  that  the  animal  had  already 
been  tamed.  The  later  and  ordinary  Sanskrit  name  for 
monkey,  vdnara  ("forest-animal"),  has  survived  in  the 
modern   vernaculars,  and  is   known   to  readers  of   Mr. 


Rudyard  Kipling  in  the  form  of  Bunder-log  ("  monkey- 

Among  the  domestic  animals  known  to  the  Rigveda 
those  of  lesser  importance  are  sheep,  goats,  asses,  and 
dogs.  The  latter,  it  may  be  gathered,  were  used  for 
hunting,  guarding,  and  tracking  cattle,  as  well  as  for 
keeping  watch  at  night.  Cattle,  however,  occupy  the 
chief  place.  Cows  were  the  chief  form  of  wealth,  and 
the  name  of  the  sacrificial  "  fee,"  Y  dakshind,  is  properly  an 
adjective  meaning  "right,"  "valuable,"  with  the  ellipse 
of  goy  "  cow."  No  sight  gladdened  the  eye  of  the  Vedic 
Indian  more  than  the  cow  returning  from  the  pasture 
and  licking  her  calf  fastened  by  a  cord ;  no  sound  was  more 
musical  to  his  ear  than  the  lowing  of  milch  kine.  To 
him  therefore  there  was  nothing  grotesque  in  the  poet 
exclaiming,  "As  cows  low  to  their  calves  near  the  stalls, 
so  we  will  praise  Indra  with  our  hymns,"  or  "  Like 
unmilked  kine  we  have  called  aloud  (lowed)  to  thee,  O 
hero  (Indra)."  For  greater  security  cows  were,  after 
returning  from  pasture,  kept  in  stalls  during  the  night 
and  let  out  again  in  the  morning.  Though  the  cow- 
killer  is  in  the  White  Yajurveda  already  said  to  be 
punishable  with  death,  the  Rigveda  does  not  express  an 
absolute  prohibition,  for  the  v/edding-hymn  shows  that 
even  the  cow  was  slaughtered  on  specially  solemn  occa- 
sions, while  bulls  are  several  times  described  as  sacrificed 
to  Indra  in  large  numbers.  Whilst  the  cows  were  out 
at  pasture,  bulls  and  oxen  were  regularly  used  for  the 
purpose  of  ploughing  and  drawing  carts. 

Horses  came  next  in  value  to  cattle,  for  wealth  in 
steeds  is  constantly  prayed  for  along  with  abundance  of 
cows.     To   a   people   so   frequently  engaged   in   battle, 

1  German,  vieh ;  Latin,  peats t  from  which pecicnia^  "money." 


the  horse  was  of  essential  value  in  drawing  the  war- 
car  ;  he  was  also  indispensable  in  the  chariot-race,  to 
which  the  Vedic  Indian  was  devoted.  He  was,  however, 
not  yet  used  for  riding.  The  horse-sacrifice,  moreover, 
was  regarded  as  the  most  important  and  efficacious  of 
animal  sacrifices. 

Of  the  birds  of  the  Rigveda  I  need  only  mention 
those  which  have  some  historical  or  literary  interest. 
The  wild  goose  or  swan  (Jiamsa),  so  familiar  to  the 
classical  poets,  is  frequently  referred  to,  being  said  to 
swim  in  the  water  and  to  fly  in  a  line.  The  curious 
power  of  separating  soma  from  water  is  attributed  to 
it  in  the  White  Yajurveda,  as  that  of  extracting  milk 
from  water  is  in  the  later  poetry.  The  latter  faculty 
belongs  to  the  curlew  (krunch),  according  to  the  same 

The  chakravdka  or  ruddy  goose,  on  the  fidelity  of 
which  the  post- Vedic  poets  so  often  dwell,  is  mentioned 
once  in  the  Rigveday  the  Acvins  being  said  to  come  in 
the  morning  like  a  couple  of  these  birds,  while  the 
Atharva-veda  already  refers  to  them  as  models  of  con- 
jugal love.  Peahens  (mayuri)  are  spoken  of  in  the 
Rigveda  as  removing  poison,  and  parrots  (cuka)  are 
alluded  to  as  yellow.  By  the  time  of  the  Yajurveda 
the  latter  bird  had  been  tamed,  for  it  is  there  described 
as  "  uttering  human  speech." 

A  good  illustration  of  the  dangers  of  the  argumen- 
tum  ex  silentio  is  furnished  by  the  fact  that  salt,  the 
most  necessary  of  minerals,  is  never  once  mentioned  in 
the  Rigveda,  And  yet  the  Northern  Pan  jab  is  the  very 
part  of  India  where  it  most  abounds.  It  occurs  in  the 
salt  range  between  the  Indus  and  the  Jhelum  in  such 
quantities   that   the    Greek    companions    of   Alexander, 

METALS  i  5  i 

according  to  Strabo,  asserted  the  supply  to  be  sufficient 
for  the  wants  of  the  whole  of  India. 

Among  the  metals,  gold  is  the  one  most  frequently 
mentioned  in  the  Rigveda.  It  was  probably  for  the 
most  part  obtained  from  the  rivers  of  the  north-west, 
which  even  at  the  present  day  are  said  to  yield  con- 
siderable quantities  of  the  precious  metal.  Thus  the 
Indus  is  spoken  of  by  the  poets  as  "golden"  or 
"having  a  golden  bed."  There  are  indications  that 
kings  possessed  gold  in  abundance.  Thus  one  poet 
praises  his  royal  benefactor  for  bestowing  ten  nuggets  of 
gold  upon  him  besides  other  bountiful  gifts.  Gold  orna- 
ments of  various  kinds,  such  as  ear-rings  and  armlets, 
are  often  mentioned. 

The  metal  which  is  most  often  referred  to  in  the 
Rigveda  next  to  gold  is  called  ayas  (Latin,  aes).  It  is 
a  matter  of  no  slight  historical  interest  to  decide  whether 
this  signifies  "iron"  or  not.  In  most  passages  where  it 
occurs  the  word  appears  to  mean  simply  "metal."  In 
the  few  cases  where  it  designates  a  particular  metal, 
the  evidence  is  not  very  conclusive  ;  but  the  inference 
which  may  be  drawn  as  to  its  colour  is  decidedly  in 
favour  of  its  having  been  reddish,  which  points  to 
bronze  and  not  iron.  The  fact  that  the  Atharva-veda 
distinguishes  between  "dark"  ayas  and  "red,"  seems  to 
indicate  that  the  distinction  between  iron  and  copper  or 
bronze  had  only  recently  been  drawn.  It  is,  moreover, 
well  known  that  in  the  progress  of  civilisation  the  use 
of  bronze  always  precedes  that  of  iron.  Yet  it  would 
be  rash  to  assert  that  iron  was  altogether  unknown 
even  to  the  earlier  Vedic  age.  It  seems  quite  likely 
that  the  Aryans  of  that  period  were  unacquainted  with 
silver,  for  its  name  is  not  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda, 


and  the  knowledge  of  silver  goes  hand  in  hand  with 
that  of  iron,  owing  to  the  manner  in  which  these 
metals  are  intermingled  in  the  ore  which  produces 
them.  These  two  metals,  moreover,  are  not  found  in 
any  quantity  in  the  north-west  of  India. 

The  evidence  of  the  topography,  the  climate,  and 
the  products  of  the  country  thus  shows  that  the  people 
by  whose  poets  the  Rigveda  was  composed  were  settled 
in  the  north-west  of  India,  from  the  Kabul  to  the 
Jumna.  But  they  were  still  engaged  in  conflict  with 
the  aborigines,  for  many  victories  over  them  are  re- 
ferred to.  Thus  Indra  is  said  to  have  bound  iooo  or 
slain  30,000  of  them  for  his  allies.  That  the  conquerors 
were  bent  on  acquiring  new  territory  appears  from  the 
rivers  being  frequently  mentioned  as  obstacles  to  farther 
advance.  The  invaders,  though  split  up  into  many 
tribes,  were  conscious  of  a  unity  of  race  and  religion. 
They  styled  themselves  Aryas  or  "  kinsmen,"  as  opposed 
to  the  aborigines,  to  whom  they  gave  the  name  of 
Dasyu  or  Ddsa,  "fiends,"  in  later  times  also  called 
anaryay  or  non-Aryans.  The  characteristic  physical 
difference  between  the  two  races  was  that  of  colour 
(varna),  the  aborigines  being  described  as  "  black " 
(krishnd)  or  "  black-skins,"  and  as  the  "  Dasa  colour," 
in  contrast  with  the  " Aryan  colour"  or  "our  colour." 
This  contrast  undoubtedly  formed  the  original  basis  of 
caste,  the  regular  name  for  which  in  Sanskrit  is  "  colour." 

Those  of  the  conquered  race  who  did  not  escape  to 
the  hills  and  were  captured  became  slaves.  Thus  one 
singer  receives  from  his  royal  patron  a  hundred  asses, 
a  hundred  sheep,  and  a  hundred  Dasas.  The  latter 
word  in  later  Sanskrit  regularly  means  servant  or  slave, 
much  in  the  same  way  as  "  captive  Slav"  to  the  German 


came  to  mean  "slave/'  When  thoroughly  subjected, 
the  original  inhabitants,  ceasing  to  be  called  Dasyus, 
became  the  fourth  caste  under  the  later  name  of  (Judras. 
The  Dasyus  are  described  in  the  Rigveda  as  non-sacri- 
ficing, unbelieving,  and  impious.  They  are  also  doubt- 
less meant  by  the  phallus-worshippers  mentioned  in 
two  passages.  The  Aryans  in  course  of  time  came  to 
adopt  this  form  of  cult.  There  are  several  passages  in 
the  Mahdbhdrata  showing  that  (^iva  was  already  vene- 
rated under  the  emblem  of  the  phallus  when  that  epic 
was  composed.  Phallus-worship  is  widely  diffused  in 
India  at  the  present  day,  but  is  most  prevalent  in  the 
south.  The  Dasyus  appear  to  have  been  a  pastoral  race, 
for  they  possessed  large  herds,  which  were  captured 
by  the  victorious  Aryans.  They  fortified  themselves  in 
strongholds  (called  pur),  which  must  have  been  nume- 
rous, as  Indra  is  sometimes  said  to  have  destroyed  as 
many  as  a  hundred  of  them  for  his  allies. 

The  Rigveda  mentions  many  tribes  among  the  Aryans. 
The  most  north-westerly  of  these  are  the  Gandharis, 
who,  judged  by  the  way  they  are  referred  to,  must  have 
been  breeders  of  sheep.  They  were  later  well  known 
as  Gandharas  or  Gandharas.  The  Atkarva-veda  men- 
tions as  contiguous  to  the  Gandharis  the  Mujavats,  a 
tribe  doubtless  settled  close  to  Mount  Mujavat ;  evidently 
regarding  these  two  as  the  extreme  limit  of  the  Aryan 
settlements  to  the  north-west. 

The  most  important  part,  if  not  the  whole,  of  the 
Indian  Aryans  is  meant  by  the  "five  tribes^  an  ex- 
pression of  frequent  occurrence  in  the  Rigveda.  It  is 
not  improbable  that  by  this  term  were  meant  five  tribes 
which  are  enumerated  together  in  two  passages,  the 
\Purus,   Turvacas,  Yadus,  Anus,    and    Druhyus.     These 


are  often  mentioned  as  engaged  in  intertribal  conflicts. 
Four  of  them,  along  with  some  other  clans,  are  named 
as  having  formed  a  coalition  under  ten  kings  against 
Sudas,  chief  of  the  Tritsus.  The  opposing  forces  met 
on  the  banks  of  the  ParushnI,  where  the  great  "  battle 
of  the  ten  kings"  was  fought.  The  coalition,  in  their 
endeavours  to  cross  the  stream  and  to  deflect  its  course, 
were  repulsed  with  heavy  loss  by  the  Tritsus. 

The  Purus  are  described  as  living  on  both  banks  of 
the  Sarasvatl.  A  part  of  them  must,  however,  have 
remained  behind  farther  west,  as  they  were  found  on 
the  ParushnI  in  Alexander's  time.  The  Rigveda  often 
mentions  their  king,  Trasadasyu,  son  of  Purukutsa,  and 
speaks  of  his  descendant  Trikshi  as  a  powerful  prince. 
The  Turvacas  are  one  of  the  most  frequently  named 
of  the  tribes.  With  them  are  generally  associated  the 
Yadus,  among  whom  the  priestly  family  of  the  Kanvas 
seems  to  have  lived.  It  is  to  be  inferred  from  one  passage 
of  the  Rigveda  that  the  Anus  were  settled  on  the  ParushnI, 
and  the  priestly  family  of  the  Bhrigus,  it  would  appear, 
belonged  to  them.  Their  relations  to  the  Druhyus  seem 
to  have  been  particularly  close.  The  Matsyas,  mentioned 
only  in  one  passage  of  the  Rigveda,  were  also  foes  of 
the  Tritsus.  In  the  Mahabharata  we  find  them  located 
on  the  western  bank  of  the  Yamuna. 

A  more  important  name  among  the  enemies  of  Sudas 
is  that  of  the  Bharatas.  One  hymn  (iii.  33)  describes 
them  as  coming  to  the  rivers  Vipac  and  Cutudrl  accom- 
panied by  Vicvamitra,  who,  as  we  learn  from  another 
hymn  (iii.  53),  had  formerly  been  the  chief  priest  of 
Sudas,  and  who  now  made  the  waters  fordable  for  the 
Bharatas  by  his  prayers.  This  is  probably  the  occasion 
on  which,   according    to   another    hymn    (vii.   33),   the 


Bharatas  were  defeated  by  Sudas  and  his  Tritsus,  who 
were  aided  by  the  invocations  of  Vasishtha,  the  successor 
and  rival  of  Vicvamitra.  The  Bharatas  appear  to  be 
specially  connected  with  sacrificial  rites  in  the  Rigveda  ; 
for  Agni  receives  the  epithet  Bhdrata,  "belonging  to  the 
Bharatas,"  and  the  ritual  goddess  Bharatl,  frequently 
associated  with  SarasvatI,  derives  her  name  from  them. 
In  a  hymn  to  Agni  (iii.  23),  mention  is  made  of  two 
Bharatas  named  Devacravas  and  Devavata  who  kindled 
the  sacred  fire  on  the  Drishadvatl,  the  Apaya,  and  the 
SarasvatI,  the  very  region  which  is  later  celebrated  as 
the  holy  land  of  Brahmanism  under  the  names  of  Brahma- 
varta  and  Kurukshetra.  The  family  of  the  Kucikas,  to 
whom  Vicvamitra  belonged,  was  closely  connected  with 
the  Bharatas. 

The  Tritsus  appear  to  have  been  settled  somewhere 
to  the  east  of  the  ParushnI,  on  the  left  bank  of  which 
Sudas  may  be  supposed  to  have  drawn  up  his  forces 
to  resist  the  coalition  of  the  ten  kings  attempting  to 
cross  the  stream  from  the  west.  Five  tribes,  whose 
names  do  not  occur  later,  are  mentioned  as  allied  with 
Sudas  in  the  great  battle.  The  Srinjayas  were  probably 
also  confederates  of  the  Tritsus,  being,  like  the  latter, 
described  as  enemies  of  the  Turvacas. 

Of  some  tribes  we  learn  nothing  from  the  Rigveda 
but  the  name,  which,  however,  survives  till  later  times. 
Thus  the  Uclnaras,  mentioned  only  once,  were,  at  the 
period  when  the  Aitareya  Brdhmana  was  composed, 
located  in  the  middle  of  Northern  India  ;  and  the  Chedis, 
also  referred  to  only  once,  are  found  in  the  epic  age 
settled  in  Magadha  (Southern  Behar).  Krivi,  as  a  tribal 
name  connected  with  the  Indus  and  Asiknl,  points  to 
the  north-west.     In  the  Qatapatha  Brdhmana  it  is  stated 


to  be  the  old  name  of  the  Panchalas,  who  inhabited  the 
country  to  the  north  of  the  modern  Delhi. 

The  Atharva-veda  mentions  as  remote  tribes  not  only 
the  Gandharis  and  Mujavats,  but  also  the  Magadhas 
(Behar)  and  the  Angas  (Bengal).  We  may  therefore 
conclude  that  by  the  time  that  Veda  was  completed  the 
Aryans  had  already  spread  to  the  Delta  of  the  Ganges. 

The  Panchalas  are  not  mentioned  in  either  Veda,  and 
the  name  of  the  Kurus  is  only  found  there  indirectly 
in  two  or  three  compounds  or  derivatives.  They  are 
first  referred  to  in  the  White  Yajurveda  ;  yet  they  are  the 
two  most  prominent  peoples  of  the  Brahmana  period. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  names  of  a  number  of  the  most 
important  of  the  Rigvedic  tribes,  such  as  the  Purus, 
Turvacas,  Yadus,  Tritsus,  and  others,  have  entirely  or 
practically  disappeared  from  the  Brahmanas.  Even  the 
Bharatas,  though  held  in  high  regard  by  the  composers 
of  the  Brahmanas,  and  set  up  by  them  as  models  of 
correct  conduct,  appear  to  have  ceased  to  represent  a 
political  entity,  for  there  are  no  longer  any  references 
to  them  in  that  sense,  as  to  other  peoples  of  the  day. 
Their  name,  moreover,  does  not  occur  in  the  tribal 
enumerations  of  the  Aitareya  Brahmana  and  of  Manuy 
while  it  is  practically  altogether  ignored  in  the  Buddhistic 

Such  being  the  case,  it  is  natural  to  suppose  that  the 
numerous  Vedic  tribes,  under  the  altered  conditions  of 
life  in  vast  plains,  coalesced  into  nations  with  new  names. 
Thus  the  Bharatas,  to  whom  belonged  the  royal  race  of 
the  Kurus  in  the  epic,  and  from  whom  the  very  name 
of  the  Mahabharata}  which  describes  the  great  war  of  the 
Kurus,  is  derived,  were  doubtless  absorbed  in  what  came 
to  be    called    the    Kuru    nation.      In    the    genealogical 


system  of  the  Mahdbhdrata  the  Purus  are  brought  into 
close  connection  with  the  Kurus.  This  is  probably  an 
indication  that  they  too  had  amalgamated  with  the  latter 
people.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  the  Tritsus,  whose  name 
disappears  after  the  Rigveda,  also  furnished  one  of  the 
elements  of  the  Kuru  nation. 

As  to  the  Panchalas,  we  have  seen  that  they  represent 
the  old  Krivis.  It  is,  however,  likely  that  the  latter  com- 
bined with  several  small  tribes  to  make  up  the  later 
nation.  A  Brahmana  passage  contains  an  indication  that 
the  Turvacas  may  have  been  one  of  these.  Perhaps 
the  Yadus,  generally  associated  with  the  Turvacas  in 
the  Rigveda,  were  also  one  of  them.  The  epic  still  pre- 
serves the  name,  in  the  patronymic  form  of  Yadava,  as 
that  of  the  race  in  which  Krishna  was  born.  The  name 
of  the  Panchalas  itself  (derived  from  pancha,  five)  seems 
to  indicate  that  this  people  consisted  of  an  aggregate  of 
five  elements. 

Some  of  the  tribes  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda,  how- 
ever, maintained  their  individual  identity  under  their 
old  names  down  to  the  epic  period.  These  were  the 
Uclnaras,  Srinjayas,   Matsyas,  and  Chedis. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  Rigveda  refers  to  a 
rich  and  powerful  prince  called  Ikshvaku.     In  the  epic 
this  name  recurs  as  that  of  a  mighty  king  who  ruled  to 
the  east  of  the  Ganges  in  the  city  of  Ayodhya  (Oudh) 
and  was  the  founder  of  the  Solar  race. 

It  is  clear  from  what  has  been  said  that  the.Vedic 
Aryans  were  split  up  into  numerous  tribes,  which,  though 
conscious  of  their  unity  in  race,  language,  and  religion, 
had  no  political  cohesion.  They  occasionally  formed 
coalitions,  it  is  true,  but  were  just  as  often  at  war  with 
one  another.     The  tribe,  in  fact,  was  the  political  unit, 


organised  much  in  the  same  way  as  the  Afghans  are  at 
the  present  day,  or  the  Germans  were  in  the  time  of 
Tacitus.  The  tribe  (jand)  consisted  of  a  number  of 
settlements  (vig)y  which  again  were  formed  of  an  aggre- 
gate of  villages  (grama).  The  fighting  organisation  of 
the  tribe  appears  to  have  been  based  on  these  divisions. 
The  houses  forming  the  village  seem  to  have  been  built 
entirely  of  wood,  as  they  still  were  in  the  time  of 
Megasthenes.  In  the  midst  of  each  house  the  domestic 
fire  burnt.  For  protection  against  foes  or  inundations, 
fortified  enclosures  (called  pur)  were  made  on  emi- 
nences. They  consisted  of  earthworks  strengthened 
with  a  stockade,  or  occasionally  with  stone.  There  is 
nothing  to  show  that  they  were  inhabited,  much  less 
that  pur  ever  meant  a  town  or  city,  as  it  did  in  later 

The  basis  of  Vedic  society  being  the  patriarchal 
family,  the  government  of  the  tribe  was  naturally 
monarchical.  The  king  (raja)  was  often  hereditary. 
Thus  several  successive  members  of  the  same  family  are 
mentioned  as  rulers  of  the  Tritsus  and  of  the  Purus. 
Occasionally,  however,  the  king  was  elected  by  the 
districts  (vig)  of  the  tribe  ;  but  whether  the  choice  was 
then  limited  to  members  of  the  royal  race,  or  was 
extended  to  certain  noble  families,  does  not  appear.  In 
times  of  peace  the  main  duty  of  the  king  was  to  ensure 
the  protection  of  his  people.  In  return  they  rendered 
him  obedience,  and  supplied  him  with  voluntary  gifts — 
not  fixed  taxes — for  his  maintenance.  His  power  was  by 
no  means  absolute,  being  limited  by  the  will  of  the 
people  expressed  in  the  tribal  assembly  (samiti).  As  to 
the  constitution  and  functions  of  the  latter,  we  have 
unfortunately  little  or  no  information.     In  war,  the  king 


of  course  held  the  chief  command.  On  important  occa- 
sions, such  as  the  eve  of  a  battle,  it  was  also  his  duty  to 
offer  sacrifice  on  behalf  of  his  tribe,  either  performing 
the  rites  himself,  or  employing  a  priest  to  do  so. 

Every  tribe  doubtless  possessed  a  family  of  singers 
who  attended  the  king,  praising  his  deeds  as  well  as 
composing  hymns  to  accompany  the  sacrifice  in  honour 
of  the  gods.  Depending  on  the  liberality  of  their 
patrons,  these  poets  naturally  did  not  neglect  to  lay 
stress  on  the  efficacy  of  their  invocations,  and  on  the 
importance  of  rewarding  them  well  for  their  services. 
The  priest  whom  a  king  appointed  to  officiate  for  him 
was  called  a  purohita  or  domestic  chaplain.  Vasishtha 
occupied  that  position  in  the  employ  of  King  Sudas  ;  and 
in  one  of  his  hymns  (vii.  33)  he  does  not  fail  to  point  out 
that  the  victory  of  the  Tritsus  was  due  to  his  prayers. 
The  panegyrics  on  liberal  patrons  contain  manifest 
exaggerations,  partly,  no  doubt,  intended  to  act  as  an  in- 
centive to  other  princes.  Nevertheless,  the  gifts  in  gold, 
cows,  horses,  chariots,  and  garments  bestowed  by  kings  on 
their  chief  priests  must  often  have  been  considerable, 
especially  after  important  victories.  Under  the  later 
Brahmanic  hierarchy  liberality  to  the  priestly  caste  be- 
came a  duty,  while  the  amount  of  the  sacrificial  fee 
was  fixed  for  each  particular  rite. 

The  employment  of  Purohitas  by  kings  as  their  sub- 
stitutes in  the  performance  of  sacrificial  functions  is  to 
be  regarded  as  the  beginning  and  the  oldest  form  of  the 
priesthood  in  India.  It  became  the  starting-point  of  the 
historically  unique  hierarchical  order  in  which  the  sacer- 
dotal caste  occupied  the  supreme  position  in  society, 
and  the  State  was  completely  merged  in  the  Church. 
Such,  indeed,  was  the  ideal  of  the  Catholic  Church  in  the 


West  during  the  Middle  Ages,  but  it  never  became  an 
accomplished  fact  in  Europe,  as  it  did  in  India.  No 
sooner  had  the  priesthood  become  hereditary  than  the 
development  of  a  caste  system  began,  which  has  had  no 
parallel  in  any  other  country.  But  during  the  period 
represented  by  Sudas  and  Vasishtha,  in  which  the  older 
portion  of  the  Rigveda  was  composed,  the  priesthood 
was  not  yet  hereditary,  still  less  had  the  warrior  and 
sacerdotal  classes  became  transformed  into  castes  among 
the  Aryan  tribes  settled  in  the  Panjab.  This  is  confirmed 
by  the  fact  that  in  the  epic  age  the  inhabitants  of 
Madhyadega  or  Mid-land,  where  the  Brahmanic  caste 
system  grew  up,  regarded  the  people  of  the  north-west 
as  semi-barbarians. 

In  the  simple  social  organisation  of  the  Vedic  tribes 
of  this  region,  where  occupations  were  but  little  diffe- 
rentiated, every  man  was  a  soldier  as  well  a  civilian, 
much  as  among  the  Afghans  of  to-day.  As  they  moved 
farther  to  the  east,  society  became  more  complex,  and 
vocations  tended  to  become  hereditary.  The  popula- 
tion being  now  spread  over  wider  tracts  of  territory,  the 
necessity  arose  for  something  in  the  nature  of  a  standing 
army  to  repel  sudden  attacks  or  quell  risings  of  the 
subject  aborigines.  The  nucleus  would  have  been  sup- 
plied by  the  families  of  the  chiefs  of  lesser  tribes  which 
had  amalgamated  under  some  military  leader.  The  agri- 
cultural 3nd  industrial  part  of  the  population  were  thus 
left  to  follow  their  pursuits  without  interruption.  Mean- 
while the  religious  ceremonial  was  increasing  in  com- 
plexity ;  its  success  was  growing  more  dependent  on 
correct  performance,  while  the  preservation  of  the 
ancient  hymns  was  becoming  more  urgent.  The  priests 
had,   therefore,   to   devote   all   their   time  and  energies 


to   the  carrying  out  of   their   religious   duties  and  the 
handing  down  of  the  sacred  tradition  in  their  families. 

Owing  to  these  causes,  the  three  main  classes  of 
Aryan  society  became  more  and  more  separated.  But 
how  were  they  transformed  into  castes  or  social  strata 
divided  from  one  another  by  the  impassable  barriers 
of  heredity  and  the  prohibition  of  intermarrying  or 
eating  together  ?  This  rigid  mutual  exclusiveness  must 
have  started,  in  the  first  instance,  from  the  treatment  of 
the  conquered  aborigines,  who,  on  accepting  the  Aryan 
belief,  were  suffered  to  form  a  part  of  the  Aryan  polity 
in  the  capacity  of  a  servile  class.  The  gulf  between  the 
two  races  need  not  have  been  wider  than  that  which  at 
the  present  day,  in  the  United  States,  divides  the  whites 
from  the  negroes.  When  the  latter  are  described  as 
men  of  "  colour,"  the  identical  term  is  used  which,  in 
India,  came  to  mean  "caste."  Having  become  heredi- 
tary, the  sacerdotal  class  succeeded  in  securing  a  position 
of  sanctity  and  inviolability  which  raised  them  above  the 
rest  of  the  Aryans  as  the  latter  were  raised  above  the 
Dasas.  When  their  supremacy  was  established,  they 
proceeded  to  organise  the  remaining  classes  in  the  state 
on  similar  lines  of  exclusiveness.  To  the  time  when  the 
system  of  the  three  Aryan  castes,  with  the  (Judras  added 
as  a  fourth,  already  existed  in  its  fundamental  principles, 
belong  the  greater  part  of  the  independent  portions  of 
the  Yajurveda,  a  considerable  part  of  the  Atharva-veda 
(most  of  books  viii.  to  xiii.),  but  of  the  Rigveda,  besides 
the  one  (x.  90)  which  distinctly  refers  to  the  four  castes 
by  name,  only  a  few  of  the  latest  hymns  of  the  first, 
eighth,  and  tenth  books.  The  word  brahmana,  the 
regular  name  for  "  man  of  the  first  caste,"  is  still  rare  in 
the  Rigveda,  occurring  only  eight  times,  while  brahman. 


which  simply  means  sage  or  officiating  priest,  is  found 
forty-six  times. 

We  may  now  pass  on  to  sketch  rapidly  the  social 
conditions  which  prevailed  in  the  period  of  the  Rigveda. 
The  family,  in  which  such  relationships  as  a  wife's  brother 
and  a  husband's  brother  or  sister  had  special  names,  was 
clearly  the  foundation  of  society.  The  father  was  at  its 
head  as  "  lord  of  the  house  "  (grihapati).  Permission  to 
marry  a  daughter  was  asked  from  him  by  the  suitor 
through  the  mediation  of  an  intimate  friend.  The  wed- 
ding was  celebrated  in  the  house  of  the  bride's  parents, 
whither  the  bridegroom,  his  relatives,  and  friends  came 
in  procession.  Here  they  were  entertained  with  the 
flesh  of  cows  slain  in  honour  of  the  occasion.  Here, 
too,  the  bridegroom  took  the  bride's  hand  and  led  her 
round  the  nuptial  fire.  The  Atliarva-veda  adds  that  he 
set  down  a  stone  on  the  ground,  asking  the  bride  to  step 
upon  it  for  the  obtainment  of  offspring.  On  the  con- 
clusion of  the  wedding  festivities,  the  bride,  anointed  and 
in  festal  array,  mounted  with  her  husband  a  car  adorned 
with  red  flowers  and  drawn  by  two  white  bulls.  On  this 
she  was  conducted  in  procession  to  her  new  home.  The 
main  features  of  this  nuptial  ceremony  of  3000  years 
ago> still  survive  in  India. 
j  Though  the  wife,  like  the  children,  was  subject  to  the 
will  of  her  husband,  she  occupied  a  position  of  greater 
honour  in  the  age  of  the  Rigveda  than  in  that  of  the 
Brahmanas,  for  she  participated  with  her  husband  in 
the  offering  of  sacrifice.  She  was  mistress  of  the 
house  (grihapatnt) ,  sharing  the  control  not  only  of 
servants  and  slaves,  but  also  of  the  unmarried  brothers 
and  sisters  of  her  husband.  From  the  Yajurveda  we 
learn   that   it   was   customary   for    sons   and   daughters 


to  marry  in  the  order  of  their  age,  but  the  Rigveda 
more  than  once  speaks  of  girls  who  remained  un- 
married and  grew  old  in  their  father's  house.  As  the 
family  could  only  be  continued  in  the  male  line,  abun- 
dance of  sons  is  constantly  prayed  for,  along  with  wealth 
in  cattle  and  land,  and  the  newly  wedded  husband  hopes 
that  his  bride  may  become  a  mother  of  heroes.  Lack  of 
sons  was  placed  on  the  same  level  as  poverty,  and  adop- 
tion was  regarded  as  a  mere  makeshift.  No  desire  for 
the  birth  of  daughters  is  ever  expressed  in  the  Rigveda ; 
their  birth  is  deprecated  in  the  Atharva-veda,  and  the 
Yajurveda  speaks  of  girls  being  exposed  when  born. 
Fathers,  even  in  the  earliest  Vedic  times,  would  doubtless 
have  sympathised  with  the  sentiment  of  the  Aitareya 
Brahmana,  that  "to  have  a  daughter  is  a  misery."  This 
prejudice  survives  in  India  to  the  present  day  with  un- 
abated force. 

That  the  standard  of  morality  was  comparatively 
high  may  be  inferred  from  the  fact  that  adultery  and 
rape  were  counted  among  the  most  serious  offences, 
and  illegitimate  births  were  concealed. 

One  or  two  passages  indicate  that  the  practice  of 
exposing  old  men,  found  among  many  primitive  peoples, 
was  not  unknown  to  the  Rigveda. 

Among  crimes,  the  commonest  appears  to  have  been 
robbery,  which  generally  took  the  form  of  cattle-lifting, 
mostly  practised  at  night.  Thieves  and  robbers  are  often 
mentioned,  and  the  Rigveda  contains  many  prayers  for 
protection  at  home,  abroad,  and  on  journeys.  Such 
criminals,  when  caught,  were  punished  by  being  tied  to 
stakes  with  cords.  Debts  {rind)  were  often  incurred, 
chiefly,  it  would  seem,  at  play,  and  the  Rigveda  even 
speaks  of  paying  them  off  by  instalments. 


From  the  references  to  dress  which  the  Rigveda 
contains  we  may  gather  that  a  lower  garment  and  a 
cloak  were  worn.  Clothes  were  woven  of  sheep's  wool, 
were  often  variegated,  and  sometimes  adorned  with 
gold.  Necklets,  bracelets,  anklets,  and  ear-rings  are 
mentioned  in  the  way  of  ornaments.  The  hair  was 
anointed  and  combed.  The  Atharva-veda  even  men- 
tions a  comb  with  a  hundred  teeth,  and  also  speaks 
of  remedies  which  strengthened  or  restored  the  growth 
of  the  hair.  Women  plaited  their  hair,  while  men  occa- 
sionally wore  it  braided  and  wound  like  a  shell.  The 
gods  Rudra  and  Pushan  are  described  as  being  thus 
adorned  ;  and  the  Vasishthas,  we  learn,  wore  their  hair 
braided  on  the  right  side  of  the  head.  On  festive 
occasions  wreaths  were  worn  by  men.  Beards  were 
usual,  but  shaving  was  occasionally  practised.  The 
Atharva-veda  relates  how,  when  the  ceremony  of  shaving 
off  his  beard  was  performed  on  King  Soma,  Vayu 
brought  the  hot  water  and  Savitri  skilfully  wielded  the 

The  chief  article  of  food  was  milk,  which  was  either 
drunk  as  it  came  from  the  cow  or  was  used  for  cooking 
grain  as  well  as  mixing  with  soma.  Next  in  importance 
came  clarified  butter  (ghritayno\v  ghee)y  which,  as  a  favourite 
food  of  men,  was  also  offered  to  the  gods.  Grain  was 
eaten  after  being  parched,  or,  ground  to  flour  between 
millstones,  was  made  into  cakes  with  milk  or  butter. 
Various  kinds  of  vegetables  and  fruit  also  formed  part 
of  the  daily  fare  of  the  Vedic  Indian.  Flesh  was  eaten 
only  on  ceremonial  occasions,  when  animals  were  sacri- 
ficed. Bulls  being  the  chief  offerings  to  the  gods,  beef 
was  probably  the  kind  of  meat  most  frequently  eaten. 
Horse-flesh  must  have  been  less  commonly  used,  owing 


to  the  comparative  rarity  of  the  horse-sacrifice.  Meat 
was  either  roasted  on  spits  or  cooked  in  pots.  The 
latter  were  made  of  metal  or  earthenware  ;  but  drinking- 
vessels  were  usually  of  wood. 

The  Indians  of  the  Rigveda  were  acquainted  with 
at  least  two  kinds  of  spirituous  liquor.  Soma  was 
the  principal  one.  Its  use  was,  however,  restricted  to 
occasions  of  a  religious  character,  such  as  sacrifices 
and  festivals.  The  genuine  soma  plant  from  which 
it  was  made  also  became  increasingly  difficult  to 
obtain  as  the  Aryans  moved  farther  away  from  the 
mountains.  The  spirit  in  ordinary  use  was  called  surd. 
The  knowledge  of  it  goes  back  to  a  remote  period,  for 
its  name,  like  that  of  soma,  is  found  in  the  Avesta  in 
the  form  of  hura.  It  was  doubtless  prepared  from  some 
kind  of  grain,  like  the  liquor  made  from  rice  at  the 
present  day  in  India.  Indulgence  in  surd  went  hand 
in  hand  with  gambling.  One  poet  mentions  anger,  dice, 
and  surd  as  the  causes  of  various  sins ;  while  another 
speaks  of  men  made  arrogant  with  surd  reviling  the 
gods.  Its  use  must  have  been  common,  for  by  the 
time  of  the  Vdjasaneyi  Samhitdy  the  occupation  of  a 
"  maker  of  sura "  (surdkdra)  or  distiller  had  become  a 

One  of  the  chief  occupations  of  the  Vedic  Indians 
was  of  course  warfare.  They  fought  either  on  foot  or 
on  chariots.  The  latter  had  two  occupants,  the  fighter 
and  the  driver.  This  was  still  the  case  in  the  Mahd- 
bhdrataf  where  we  find  Krishna  acting  as  charioteer  to 
Arjuna.  Cavalry  is  nowhere  mentioned,  and  probably 
came  into  use  at  a  considerably  later  period.  By  the 
time  of  Alexander's  invasion,  however,  it  formed  one 
of  the  regular  four  divisions  of  the  Indian  army.     There 


are  some  indications  that  riding  on  horseback  was  at 
least  known  to  the  Rigveda,  and  distinct  references  to 
it  occur  in  the  Atharva-  and  the  Yajur-vedas.  The  Vedic 
warriors  were  protected  with  coats  of  mail  and  helmets 
of  metal.  The  principal  weapons  were  the  bow  and 
arrow,  the  latter  being  tipped  with  poisoned  horn  or 
with  a  metal  point.  Spears  and  axes  are  also  frequently 

The  principal  means  of  livelihood  to  the  Vedic 
Indian  was  cattle-breeding.  His  great  desire  was  to 
possess  large  herds  ;  and  in  the  numerous  prayers  for 
protection,  health,  and  prosperity,  cattle  are  nearly 
always  mentioned  first. 

The  Vedic  Aryans  were,  however,  not  merely  a 
pastoral  people.  They  had  brought  with  them  from 
beyond  the  valleys  of  Afghanistan  at  least  a  primitive 
knowledge  of  agriculture,  as  is  shown  by  the  Indians 
and  Iranians  having  such  terms  as  "  to  plough  "  (krish) 
in  common.  This  had,  indeed,  by  the  time  of  the 
Rigveda,  become  an  industry  second  only  to  cattle- 
breeding  in  importance.  The  plough,  which  we  learn 
from  the  Atharva-veda  had  a  metal  share,  was  used  for 
making  furrows  in  the  fields,  and  was  drawn  by  bulls. 
When  the  earth  was  thus  prepared,  seed  was  strewn 
over  the  soil.  Irrigation  seems  not  to  have  been  un- 
known, as  dug-out  channels  for  water  are  mentioned. 
When  ripe,  the  corn  (yava)  was  cut  with  a  sickle.  It 
was  then  laid  in  bundles  on  the  threshing-floor,  where 
it  was  threshed  out  and  finally  sifted  by  winnowing. 

Though  the  Vedic  Indians  were  already  a  pastoral 
and  agricultural  people,  they  still  practised  hunting  to 
a  considerable  extent.  The  hunter  pursued  his  game 
with  bow  and  arrow,  or  used  traps  and  snares.     Birds 


were  usually  caught  with  toils  or  nets  spread  on  the 
ground.  Lions  were  taken  in  snares,  antelopes  secured 
in  pits,  and  boars  hunted  with  dogs. 

Navigation  in  Rigvedic  times  was,  as  we  have  already 
seen,  limited  to  the  crossing  of  rivers.  The  boats  (called 
nau-sy  Greek  nau:s)  were  propelled  by  what  were  doubt- 
less  paddles  (aritra),  and  must  have  been  of  the  most 
primitive  type,  probably  dug-out  tree-trunks.  No  men- 
tion is  made  of  rudder  or  anchor,  masts,  or  sails. 

Trade  in  those  days  consisted  in  barter,  the  cow 
being  the  pecuniary  standard  by  which  the  value  of 
everything  was  measured.  The  transition  to  coinage 
was  made  by  the  use  of  gold  ornaments  and  jewelry 
as  a  form  of  reward  or  payment,  as  was  the  case  among 
the  ancient  Germans.  Thus  nishka,  which  in  the  Rig* 
veda  means  a  necklet,  in  later  times  became  the  name  of 
a  coin. 

Though  the  requirements  of  life  in  early  Vedic  times 
were  still  primitive  enough  to  enable  every  man  more 
or  less  to  supply  his  own  wants,  the  beginnings  of  vari- 
ous trades  and  industries  can  be  clearly  traced  in  the  Rig- 
veda.  References  are  particularly  frequent  to  the  labour 
of  the  worker  in  wood,  who  was  still  carpenter,  joiner, 
and  wheelwright  in  one.  As  the  construction  of  chariots 
and  carts  required  peculiar  skill,  we  find  that  certain 
men  already  devoted  themselves  to  it  as  a  special  art, 
and  worked  at  it  for  pay.  Hence  felicity  in  the  com- 
position of  hymns  is  often  compared  with  the  dexterity 
of  the  wheelwright.  Mention  is  also  sometimes  made 
of  the  smith  who  smelts  the  ore  in  a  forge,  using  the 
wing  of  a  bird  instead  of  a  bellows  to  produce  a  draught. 
He  is  described  as  making  kettles  as  well  as  other 
domestic  utensils  of  metal.     The  Rigveda  also  refers  to 


tanners  and  the  skins  of  animals  prepared  by  them. 
Women,  it  appears,  were  acquainted  with  sewing  and 
with  the  plaiting  of  mats  from  grass  or  reeds.  An  art 
much  more  frequently  alluded  to  in  metaphors  and 
similes  is  that  of  weaving,  but  the  references  are  so 
brief  that  we  obtain  no  insight  into  the  process.  The 
Atharva-veda,  however,  gives  some  details  in  a  passage 
which  describes  how  Night  and  Day,  personified  as  two 
sisters,  weave  the  web  of  the  year  alternately  with 
threads  that  never  break  or  come  to  an  end.  The 
division  of  labour  had  been  greatly  developed  by  the 
time  of  the  White  Yajurveda,  in  which  a  great  many 
trades  and  vocations  are  enumerated.  Among  these 
we  find  the  rope-maker,  the  jeweller,  the  elephant- 
keeper,  and  the  actor. 

Among  the  active  and  warlike  Vedic  Aryans  the 
chariot-race  was  a  favourite  amusement,  as  is  shown 
by  the  very  metaphors  which  are  borrowed  from  this 
form  of  sport.  Though  skilful  driving  was  still  a 
highly  esteemed  art  in  the  epic  period,  the  use  of  the 
chariot  both  for  war  and  for  racing  gradually  died  out  in 
Hindustan,  partly  perhaps  owing  to  the  enervating  in- 
fluence of  the  climate,  and  partly  to  the  scarcity  of 
horses,  which  had  to  be  brought  from  the  region  of 
the  Indus. 

The  chief  social  recreation  of  men  when  they  met 
together  was  gambling  with  dice.  The  irresistible  fasci- 
nation exercised,  and  the  ruin  often  entailed  by  this 
amusement,  we  have  already  found  described  in  the 
Gambler's  Lament.  Some  haunted  the  gaming-hall  to 
such  an  extent  that  we  find  them  jocularly  described 
in  the  Yajurveda  as  " pillars  of  the  playhouse"  {sabhd- 
sthdnii).     No  certain  information  can  be  gathered  from 


the  Rigveda  as  to  how  the  game  was  played.  We 
know,  however,  from  one  passage  that  four  dice  were 
used.  The  Yajurveda  mentions  a  game  played  with 
five,  each  of  which  has  a  name.  Cheating  at  play 
appears  in  the  Rigveda  as  one  of  the  most  frequent  of 
crimes ;  and  one  poet  speaks  of  dice  as  one  of  the 
chief  sources  of  sinning  against  the  ordinances  of 
Varuna.  Hence  the  word  used  in  the  Rigveda  for 
" gamester"  (kitavd)  in  classical  Sanskrit  came  to  mean 
"cheat,"  and  a  later  word  for  "rogue"  (dhurta)  is  used 
as  a  synonym  of  "  gamester." 

Another  amusement  was  dancing,  which  seems  to  have 
been  indulged  in  by  men  as  well  as  women.  But  when 
the  sex  of  the  dancers  is  distinctly  referred  to,  they  are 
nearly  always  maidens.  Thus  the  Goddess  of  Dawn  is 
compared  to  a  dancer  decked  in  gay  attire.  That 
dancing  took  place  in  the  open  air  may  be  gathered 
from  the  line  (x.  76,  6),  "  thick  dust  arose  as  from  men 
who  dance  "  {nrityatani). 

Various  references  in  the  Rigveda  show  that  even 
in  that  early  age  the  Indians  were  acquainted  with  dif- 
ferent kinds  of  music.  For  we  find  the  three  main 
types  of  percussion,  wind,  and  stringed  instruments 
there  represented  by  the  drum  (dundubhi),  the  flute 
(vdna),  and  the  lute  (vznd).  The  latter  has  ever  since 
been  the  favourite  musical  instrument  of  the  Indians 
down  to  the  present  day.  That  the  Vedic  Indians  were 
fond  of  instrumental  music  may  be  inferred  from  the 
statement  of  a  Rishi  that  the  sound  of  the  flute  is 
heard  in  the  abode  of  Yama,  where  the  blessed 
dwell.  From  one  of  the  Sutras  we  learn  that  instru- 
mental music  was  performed  at  some  religious  rites, 
the  vmd  being  played   at  the   sacrifice   to  the    Manes. 


By  the  time  of  the  Yajurveda  several  kinds  of  profes- 
sional musicians  appear  to  have  arisen,  for  lute-players, 
drummers,  flute-players,  and  conch-blowers  are  enume- 
rated in  its  list  of  callings.  Singing  is,  of  course,  very 
often  mentioned  in  the  Rigveda.  That  vocal  music  had 
already  got  beyond  the  most  primitive  stage  may  be 
concluded  from  the  somewhat  complicated  method  of 
chanting  the  Sdmaveda,  a  method  which  was  probably 
very  ancient,  as  the  Soma  ritual  goes  back  to  the  Indo- 
Iranian  age. 



F  the  three  later  Vedas,  the  Sdmaveda  is  much  the 
most  closely  connected  with  the  Rigveda.  Historically 
it  is  of  little  importance,  for  it  contains  hardly  any  inde- 
pendent matter,  all  its  verses  except  seventy-five  being 
taken  directly  from  the  Rigveda.  Its  contents  are  derived 
chiefly  from  the  eighth  and  especially  the  ninth,  the  Soma 
book.  The  Sdmaveda  resembles  the  Yajurveda  in  having 
been  compiled  exclusively  for  ritual  application  ;  for  the 
verses  of  which  it  consists  are  all  meant  to  be  chanted 
at  the  ceremonies  of  the  soma  sacrifice.  Removed  from 
their  context  in  the  Rigveday  they  are  strung  together 
without  internal  connection,  their  significance  depend- 
ing solely  on  their  relation  to  particular  rites.  In  form 
these  stanzas  appear  in  the  text  of  the  Sdmaveda  as 
if  they  were  to  be  spoken  or  recited,  differing  from 
those  of  the  Rigveda  only  in  the  way  of  marking  the 
accent.  (The  Sdmaveda  is,  therefore,  only  the  book 
of  words  employed  by  the  special  class  of  Ugatri  priests 
at  the  soma  sacrifice.)  Its  stanzas  assume  their  proper 
character  of  musical  Sdmans  or  chants  only  in  the 
various  song-books  called  gdnas,  which  indicate  the 
prolongation,  the  repetition,  and  the  interpolation  of 
syllables  necessary  in  singing,  just  as  is  often  done  in 
European  publications  when  the  words  are  given  below 
the  musical  notation.     There  are  four  of  these  song- 


books  in  existence,  two  belonging  to  each  division  of 
the  Veda.  The  number  of  Sdmaiis  here  given  of  course 
admitted  of  being  indefinitely  increased,  as  each  verse 
could  be  sung  to  many  melodies. 

The  Sdmaveda  consists  of  1549  stanzas,  distributed  in 
two  books  called  drchikas  or  collections  of  rich  verses. 
The  principle  of  arrangement  in  these  two  books  is  dif- 
ferent. The  first  is  divided  into  six  lessons  (firapdthaka), 
each  of  which  contains  ten  decades  (dagai)  of  stanzas,  ex- 
cept the  sixth,  which  has  only  nine.  The  verses  of  the  first 
twelve  decades  are  addressed  to  Agni,  those  of  the  last 
eleven  to  Soma,  while  those  of  the  intermediate  thirty- 
six  are  chiefly  invocations  of  Indra,  the  great  soma- 
drinker.  The  second  book  contains  nine  lessons,  each  of 
which  is  divided  into  two,  and  sometimes  three  sections. 
It  consists  throughout  of  small  groups  of  stanzas,  which, 
generally  three  in  number,  are  closely  connected,  the 
first  in  the  group  being  usually  found  in  the  first  book 
also.  That  the  second  book  is  both  later  in  date  and 
secondary  in  character  is  indicated  by  its  repeating 
stanzas  from  the  first  book  as  well  as  by  its  deviating 
much  less  from  the  text  of  the  Rigveda.  It  is  also  a 
significant  fact  in  this  connection  that  the  verses  of  the 
first  book  which  recur  in  the  second  agree  more  closely 
with  the  readings  of  the  Rigveda  than  the  other  verses  by 
which  they  are  surrounded.  This  can  only  be  accounted 
for  by  the  supposition  that  they  were  consciously  altered 
in  order  to  accord  with  the  same  verses  in  the  second 
book  which  were  directly  influenced  by  the  Rigveda, 
while  the  readings  of  the  first  book  had  diverged  more 
widely  because  that  book  had  been  handed  down,  since 
the  original  borrowing,  by  an  independent  tradition. 

We  know  from  statements  of  the  ^atapatha  Brdhmana 


that  the  divisions  of  the  first  book  of  the  Sdmaveda 
existed  at  least  as  early  as  the  period  when  the  second 
part  of  that  Brahmana  was  composed.  There  is,  more- 
over, some  reason  to  believe  that  the  Sdmaveda  as  a 
collection  is  older  than  at  least  the  Taittirlya  and  the 
Vdjasaneyi  recensions  of  the  Yajurveda.  For  the  latter 
contain  verses,  used  also  as  Sdman  chants,  in  a  form  which 
shows  the  variations  of  the  Sdmaveda  in  contrast  with 
the  Rigveda.  This  is  all  the  more  striking  as  the  Vaja- 
saneyi text  has  an  undoubted  tendency  to  adhere  to  the 
readings  of  the  Rigveda.  On  the  other  hand,  the  view 
expressed  by  Professor  Weber  that  numerous  variants  in 
verses  of  the  Sdmaveda  contain  archaic  forms  as  com- 
pared with  the  Rigveda,  and  were  therefore  borrowed  at 
a  time  before  the  existing  redaction  of  the  Rigveda  took 
place,  has  been  shown  to  be  untenable.  The  various 
readings  of  the  Sdmaveda  are  really  due  in  part  to 
inferior  tradition,  and  in  part  to  arbitrary  alterations 
made  in  order  to  adapt  verses  detached  from  their 
context  to  the  ritual  purpose  to  which  they  were  applied. 
Two  schools  of  the  Sdmaveda  are  known  —  the 
Kauthumas  and  the  Ranayanlyas,  the  former  of  whom 
are  said  still  to  exist  in  Gujarat,  while  the  latter,  at  one 
time  settled  mainly  in  the  Mahratta  country,  are  said  to 
survive  in  Eastern  Hyderabad.  Their  recensions  of  the 
text  appear  to  have  differed  but  little  from  each  other. 
That  of  the  Ranayanlyas  has  been  published  more  than 
once.  The  earliest  edition,  brought  out  by  a  missionary 
named  Stevenson  in  1842,  was  entirely  superseded  by  the 
valuable  work  of  Benfey,  which,  containing  a  German 
translation  and  glossary  besides  the  text,  came  out  in 
1848.  The  Sdmaveda  was  thus  the  first  of  the  Vedas  to  be 
edited  in  its  entirety.    The  text  of  this  Veda,  according  to 


the  recension  of  the  same  school,  together  with  the  com- 
mentary of  Sayana,  was  subsequently  edited  in  India. 
Of  the  Kauthuma  recension  nothing  has  been  preserved 
excepting  the  seventh  prapdthaka,  which,  in  the  Naigeya 
subdivision  of  this  school,  forms  an  addition  to  the  first 
drchika,  and  was  edited  in  1868.  Two  indices  of  the 
deities  and  composers  of  the  Sdmaveda  according  to 
the  Naigeya  school  have  also  been  preserved,  and 
indirectly  supply  information  about  the  text  of  the 
Kauthuma  recension. 

(The  Yajurveda  introduces  us  not  only  to  a  geogra- 
phical area  different  from  that  of  the  Rigveda,  but  also 
to  a  new  epoch  of  religious  and  social  life  in  India>)  The 
centre  of  Vedic  civilisation  is  now  found  to  lie  farther  to 
the  east.  We  hear  no  more  of  the  Indus  and  its  tribu- 
taries ;  for  the  geographical  data  of  all  the  recensions  of  the 
Yajurveda  point  to  the  territory  in  the  middle  of  Northern 
India  occupied  by  the  neighbouring  peoples  of  the  Kurus 
and  Panchalas.  The  country  of  the  former,  called  Kuru- 
kshetra,  is  specifically  the  holy  land  of  the  Yajui'vedas 
and  of  the  Brahmanas  attached  to  them.  It  lay  in  the 
plain  between  the  Sutlej  and  the  Jumna,  beginning  with 
the  tract  bounded  by  the  two  small  rivers  DrishadvatI 
and  SarasvatI,  and  extending  south-eastwards  to  the 
Jumna.  It  corresponds  to  the  modern  district  of 
Sirhind.  Closely  connected  with,  and  eastward  of  this 
region,  was  situated  the  land  of  the  Panchalas,  which, 
running  south-east  from  the  Meerut  district  to  Allahabad, 
embraces  the  territory  between  the  Jumna  and  the 
Ganges  called  the  Doab  ("Two  Waters").  Kurukshetra 
was  the  country  in  which  the  Brahmanic  religious  and 
social  system  was  developed,  and  from  which  it  spread 
over   the   rest   of   India.     It  claims  a  further  historical 


interest  as  being  in  later  times  the  scene  of  the  conflict, 
described  in  the  Mahdbhdrata,  between  the  Panchalas 
and  Matsyas  on  the  one  hand,  and  the  Kurus,  including 
the  ancient  Bharatas,  on  the  other.  In  the  famous  law- 
book of  Manu  the  land  of  the  Kurus  is  still  regarded 
with  veneration  as  the  special  home  of  Brahmanism,  and 
as  such  is  designated  Brahmavarta.  Together  with  the 
country  of  the  Panchalas,  and  that  of  their  neighbours 
to  the  south  of  the  Jumna,  the  Matsyas  (with  Mathura, 
now  Muttra,  as  their  capital)  and  the  (Jurasenas,  it  is 
spoken  of  as  the  land  of  Brahman  sages,  where  the 
bravest  warriors  and  the  most  pious  priests  live,  and  the 
customs  and  usages  of  which  are  authoritative. 

Here  the  adherents  of  the  Yajurveda  split  up  into 
several  schools,  which  gradually  spread  over  other  parts 
of  India,  the  Kathas,  with  their  subdivision  the  Kapi- 
shthalas,  being  in  the  time  of  the  Greeks  located  in  the 
Panjab,  and  later  in  Kashmir  also.  The  Kathas  are  now 
to  be  found  in  Kashmir  only,  while  the  Kapishthalas  have 
entirely  disappeared.  The  Maitrayanlyas,  originally  called 
Kalapas,  appear  at  one  time  to  have  occupied  the  region 
around  the  lower  course  of  the  Narmada  for  a  distance 
of  some  two  hundred  miles  from  the  sea,  extending  to  the 
south  of  its  mouth  more  than  a  hundred  miles,  as  far  as 
Nasik,  and  northwards  beyond  the  modern  city  of  Baroda. 
There  are  now  only  a  few  remnants  of  this  school  to  the 
north  of  the  Narmada  in  Gujarat,  chiefly  at  Ahmedabad, 
and  farther  west  at  Morvi.  Before  the  beginning  of  our 
era  these  two  ancient  schools  must  have  been  very 
widely  diffused  in  India.  For  the  grammarian  Patanjali 
speaks  of  the  Kathas  and  Kalapas  as  the  universally 
known'  schools  of  the  Yajurveda,  whose  doctrines  were 
proclaimed  in  every  village.     From  the  Rdmdyana,  more- 


over,  we  learn  that  these  two  schools  were  highly  hon- 
oured in  Ayodhya  (Oudh)  also.  They  were,  however, 
gradually  ousted  by  the  two  younger  schools  of  the 
Yajurveda.  Of  these,  the  Taittiriyas  have  been  found 
only  to  the  south  of  the  Narmada,  where  they  can  be 
traced  as  far  back  as  the  fourth  century  A.D.  Their  most 
important  subdivision,  that  of  the  Apastambas,  still  sur- 
vives in  the  territory  of  the  Godavarl,  while  another,  the 
Hiranyakeeins,  are  found  still  farther  south.  The  school 
of  the  Vajasaneyins  spread  towards  the  south-east,  down 
the  Ganges  Valley.  At  the  present  day  they  occupy  a 
wide  area,  embracing  North-East  and  Central  India. 

Each  of  these  four  schools  has  preserved  one  or  two 
recensions  of  the  Yajurveda.  The  text  of  the  Maitra- 
yanl  Samhita,  which  consists  of  four  books  (kdnda),  sub- 
divided into  fifty-four  lessons  (prapathaka),  has  been 
edited  by  Professor  L.  v.  Schroeder  (1881-86).  The 
same  scholar  is  preparing  an  edition  of  the  Kathaka 
Samhita,  the  recension  of  the  Katha  school.  These  two 
recensions  are  nearly  related  in  language,  having  many 
forms  in  common  which  are  not  found  elsewhere.  Of 
the  K apis hthala- Katha  Samhita  only  somewhat  corrupt 
fragments  have  hitherto  come  to  light,  and  it  is  very 
doubtful  whether  sufficient  manuscript  material  will  ever 
be  discovered  to  render  an  edition  of  this  text  possible. 
The  Taittirlya  Samhita,  which  comprises  seven  books, 
and  is  subdivided  into  forty-four  lessons,  is  somewhat 
later  in  origin  than  the  above-mentioned  recensions.  It 
was  edited  by  Professor  A.  Weber  in  1871-72.  These 
texts  of  the  Yajurveda  form  a  closely  connected  group, 
for  they  are  essentially  the  same  in  character.  Their 
agreement  is  often  even  verbal,  especially  in  th£  verses 
and  formulas  for  recitation  which  they  contain.     They 


also  agree  in  arranging  their  matter  according  to  a 
similar  principle,  which  is  different  from  that  of  the 
Vdjasaneyi  recension. 

The  Samhitd  of  the  latter  consists  entirely  of  the  verses 
and  formulas  to  be  recited  at  the  sacrifice,  and  is  there- 
fore clear  (cukla),  that  is  to  say,  separated  from  the  ex- 
planatory matter  which  is  collected  in  the  Brahmana. 
Hence  it  is  called  the  White  (cukla)  Yajurveda,  while  the 
others,  under  the  general  name  of  Black  (krishnd)  Yajur- 
veday  are  contrasted  with  it,  as  containing  both  kinds  of 
matter  mixed  up  in  the  Samhitd.  The  text  of  the  Vaja- 
saneyins  has  been  preserved  in  two  recensions,  that  of 
the  Madhyamdinas  and  of  the  Kanvas.  These  are  almost 
identical  in  their  subject-matter  as  well  as  its  arrange- 
ment. Their  divergences  hardly  go  beyond  varieties  of 
reading,  which,  moreover,  appear  only  in  their  prose 
formulas,  not  in  their  verses.  Agreeing  thus  closely,  they 
cannot  be  separated  in  their  origin  by  any  wide  interval 
of  time.  Their  discrepancies  probably  arose  rather  from 
geographical  separation,  since  each  has  its  own  peculiari- 
ties of  spelling.  The  White  Yajurveda  in  both  these  re- 
censions has  been  edited  by  Professor  Weber  (1849-52). 

It  is  divided  into  forty  chapters,  called  adhydyas. 
That  it  originally  consisted  of  the  first  eighteen  alone 
is  indicated  by  external  as  well  as  internal  evidence. 
This  is  the  only  portion  containing  verses  and  prose 
formulas  (both  having  the  common  name  of  mantras) 
which  recur  in  the  Taittirlya  Samhitd}  the  sole  exceptions 
being  a  few  passages  relating  to  the  horse-sacrifice  in 
chapters  22-25.  Otherwise  the  contents  of  the  last 
twenty-two  chapters  are  found  again  only  in  the  Brah- 
mana and  the  Aranyaka  belonging  to  the  Taittirlya 
Samhitd.     Moreover,  it  is  only  the  mantras  of  the  first 


eighteen  chapters  of  the  Vdjasaneyi  Samhitd  which  are 
quoted  and  explained  word  by  word  in  the  first  nine 
books  of  its  own  Brahmana,  while  merely  a  few  mantras 
from  the  following  seventeen  chapters  are  mentioned  in 
that  work.  According  to  the  further  testimony  of  an 
ancient  index  of  the  White  Yajurveda,  attributed  to 
Katyayana,  the  ten  chapters  26-35  form  a  supplement 

The  internal  evidence  of  the  Vdjasaneyi  Samhitd 
leads  to  similar  conclusions.  The  fact  that  chapters 
26-29  contain  mantras  relating  to  ceremonies  dealt 
with  in  previous  chapters  and  requiring  to  be  applied 
to  those  ceremonies,  is  a  clear  indication  of  their  sup- 
plementary character.  The  next  ten  chapters  (30-39) 
are  concerned  with  altogether  new  ceremonies,  such 
as  the  human  sacrifice,  the  universal  sacrifice,  and  the 
sacrifice  to  the  Manes.  Lastly,  the  40th  chapter  must 
be  a  late  addition,  for  it  stands  in  no  direct  relation  to 
the  ritual  and  bears  the  character  of  an  Upanishad.  Dif- 
ferent parts  of  the  Samhitd,  moreover,  furnish  some  data 
pointing  to  different  periods  of  religious  and  social 
development.  In  the  16th  chapter  the  god  Rudra  is 
described  by  a  large  number  of  epithets  which  are 
subsequently  peculiar  to  (Jiva.  Two,  however,  which 
are  particularly  significant,  Icdna,  "  Ruler,"  and  Mahd- 
deva,  '•  Great  God,"  are  absent  here,  but  are  added  in 
the  39th  chapter.  These,  as  indicating  a  special  wor- 
ship of  the  god,  represent  a  later  development.  Again, 
the  30th  chapter  specifies  most  of  the  Indian  mixed 
castes,  while  the  16th  mentions  only  a  few  of  them. 
Hence,  it  is  likely  that  at  least  some  which  are  known 
to  the  former  chapter  did  not  as  yet  exist  when  the 
latter  was  composed. 


On  these  grounds  four  chronological  strata  may  be 
distinguished  in  the  White  Yajurveda.  To  the  funda- 
mental portion,  comprising  chapters  1-18,  the  next 
seven  must  first  have  been  added,  for  these  two  parts 
deal  with  the  general  sacrificial  ceremonial.  The  deve- 
lopment of  the  ritual  led  to  the  compilation  of  the  next 
fourteen  chapters,  which  are  concerned  with  ceremonies 
already  treated  (26-29)  or  entirely  new  (30-39).  The 
last  chapter  apparently  dates  from  a  period  when  the 
excessive  growth  of  ritual  practices  led  to  a  reaction. 
It  does  not  supply  sacrificial  mantras,  but  aims  at  estab- 
lishing a  mean  between  exclusive  devotion  to  and  total 
neglect  of  the  sacrificial  ceremonies. 

(_Even  the  original  portion  of  the  White  Yajurveda 
must  have  assumed  shape  somewhat  later  than  any  of 
the  recensions  of  the  BlacE>>  For  the  systematic  and 
orderly  distribution  of  matter  by  which  the  mantras  are 
collected  in  the  Sainhitd,  while  their  dogmatic  explana- 
tion is  entirely  relegated  to  a  Brahmana,  can  hardly 
be  as  old  as  the  confused  arrangement  in  which  both 
parts  are  largely  mixed  up. 

The  two  most  important  portions  of  the  Yajurvedas 
deal  with  the  new  and  full  moon  sacrifices,  as  well  as 
the  soma  sacrifice,  on  the  one  hand,  and  with  the  con- 
struction of  the  fire-altar  on  the  other.  Chapters  1-1© 
of  the  White  Yajurveda  contain  the  mantras  for  the 
former,  chapters  11-18  those  for  the  latter  part  of  the 
ceremonial.  The  corresponding  ritual  explanations  are 
to  be  found  in  books  1-5  and  6-9  respectively  of  the 
Qatapatha  Brahmana.  In  these  fundamental  portions 
even  the  Black  Yajurveda  does  not  intermingle  the 
mantras  with  their  explanations.  The  first  book  of  the 
Taittiriya    Samhitd   contains   in    its    first   four    lessons 


nothing  but  the  verses  and  formulas  to  be  recited  at  the 
fortnightly  and  the  soma  sacrifices  ;  the  fourth  book,  no- 
thing but  those  employed  in  the  fire-altar  ritual.  These 
books  follow  the  same  order  as,  and  in  fact  furnish  a 
parallel  recension  of,  the  corresponding  parts  of  the 
Vdjasaneyi  Samhitd.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Taittiriya 
Samhitd  contains  within  itself,  but  in  a  different  part, 
the  two  corresponding  Brahmanas,  which,  on  the  whole, 
are  free  from  admixture  with  mantras.  The  fifth  book 
is  the  Brahmana  of  the  fire  ritual,  and  the  sixth  is  that 
of  the  soma  sacrifice ;  but  the  dogmatic  explanation  of 
the  new  and  full  moon  sacrifice  is  altogether  omitted 
here,  being  found  in  the  third  book  of  the  Taittiriya 
Brahmana.  In  the  Maitrdyani  Samhitd  the  distribu- 
tion of  the  corresponding  material  is  similar.  The  first 
three  lessons  of  the  first  book  contain  the  mantras  only 
for  the  fortnightly  and  the  soma  sacrifices  ;  the  latter 
half  of  the  second  book  (lessons  7-13),  the  mantras  only 
for  the  fire  ritual.  The  corresponding  Brahmanas  begin 
with  the  sixth  and  the  first  lesson  respectively  of  the 
third  book.  It  is  only  in  the  additions  to  these  funda- 
mental parts  of  the  Black  Yajurveda  that  the  separation 
of  Mantra  and  Brahmana  is  not  carried  out.  The  main 
difference,  then,  between  the  Black  and  the  White  con- 
sists in  the  former  combining  within  the  same  collection 
Brahmana  as  well  as  Mantra  matter.  As  to  its  chief 
and  fundamental  parts,  there  is  no  reason  to  suppose 
that  these  two  kinds  of  matter,  which  are  kept  separate 
and  unmixed,  are  either  chronologically  or  essentially 
more  nearly  related  than  are  the  Vdjasaneyi  Samhitd  and 
the  (^atapatha  Brahmana. 

The    Yajurveda   resembles   the  Sdmaveda   in   having 
been  compiled  for  application  to  sacrificial  rites  only. 


But  while  the  Sdmaveda  deals  solely  with  one  part  of 
the  ritual,  the  soma  sacrifice,  the  Yajurveda  supplies 
the  formulas  for  the  whole  sacrificial  ceremonial.  Like 
the  Sdmaveda,  it  is  also  connec1%d  with  the  Rigveda; 
but  while  the  former  is  practically  altogether  extracted 
from  the  Rigveda,  the  Yajurveda,  though  borrowing 
many  of  its  verses  from  the  same  source,  is  largely  an 
original  production.  Thus  somewhat  more  than  one- 
fourth  only  of  the  Vajasaneyi  Samhita  is  derived  from  the 
Rigveda.  One  half  of  this  collection  consists  of  verses 
(rich)  most  of  which  (upwards  of  700)  are  found  in  the 
Rigveda;  the  other  half  is  made  up  of  prose  formulas 
(yajus).  The  latter,  as  well  as  the  verses  not  borrowed 
from  the  Rigveda,  are  the  independent  creation  of  the 
composers  of  the  Yajurveda.  This  partial  originality  was 
indeed  a  necessary  result  of  the  growth  of  entirely  new 
ceremonies  and  the  extraordinary  development  of  ritual 
detail.  It  became  impossible  to  obtain  from  the  Rigveda 
even  approximately  suitable  verses  for  these  novel  re- 

The  language  of  the  Mantra  portion  of  the  Yajur- 
veda, though  distinctly  representing  a  later  stage,  yet 
on  the  whole  agrees  with  that  of  the  Rigveda,  while 
separated  from  that  of  classical  Sanskrit  by  a  consider- 
able interval. 

(On  its  mythological  side  the  religion  of  the  Yajur- 
veda does  not  differ  essentially  from  that  of  the  older 
Veda  ;  for  the  pantheon  is  still  the  same.  Some  impor- 
tant modifications  in  detail  are,  however,  apparent.  The 
figure  of  Prajapati,  only  foreshadowed  in  the  latest  hymns 
of  the  Rigveda,  comes  more  and  more  into  the  fore- 
ground as  the  chief  of  the  godsXThe  Rudra  of  the 
Rigveda  has  begun  to  appear  on  the>scene  as  Civa,  being 


several  times  mentioned  by  that  name  as  well  as  by  other 
epithets  later  peculiar  to  (^iva,  such  as  (Jankara  and 
Mahadeva.  Vishnu  now  occupies  a  somewhat  more 
prominent  position  th£h  in  the  Rigveda.  A  new  feature 
is  his  constant  identification  with  the  sacrifice.  The 
demons,  now  regularly  called  Asuras,  perpetually  appear 
as  a  group  of  evil  beings  opposed  to  the  good  gods. 
Their  conflicts  with  the  latter  play  a  considerable  part  in 
the  myths  of  the  Yajurveda.  The  Apsarases,  who,  as  a 
class  of  celestial  nymphs  endowed  with  all  the  seductive 
charms  of  female  beauty,  occupy  so  important  a  place 
in  post-Vedic  mythology,  but  are  very  rarely  mentioned 
in  the  Rigveda,  begin  to  be  more  prominent  in  the 
Yajurveda,  in  which  many  of  them  are  referred  to  by 
individual  names.  ^ 

Certain  religious  conceptions  have,  moreover,  been 
modified  and  new  rites  introduced.  Thus  the  word 
brahma,  which  in  the  Rigveda  meant  simply  "  devo- 
tion," has  come  to  signify  the  essence  of  prayer  and 
holiness,  an  advance  towards  its  ultimate  sense  in 
the  Upanishads.  Again,  snake-worship,  which  is  un- 
known to  the  Rigveda,  now  appears  as  an  element 
in  Indian  religion.  That,  however,  which  impresses 
on  the  Yajurveda  the  stamp  of  a  new  epoch  is  the 
character  of  the  worship  which  it  represents.  The 
relative  importance  of  the  gods  and  of  the  sacrifice  in 
the  older  religion  has  now  become  inverted.  In  the 
Rigveda  the  object  of  devotion  was  the  gods,  for  the 
power  of  bestowing  benefits  on  mankind  was  believed  to 
lie  in  their  hands  alone,  while  the  sacrifice  was  only  a 
means  of  influencing  their  will  in  favour  of  the  offerer. 
In  the  Yajuweda  the  sacrifice  itself  has  become  the 
centre  of  thought  and  desire,  its  correct  performance  in 


every  detail  being  all-important,  (its  power  is  now  so 
great  that  it  not  merely  influences,  but  compels  the  gods 
to  do  the  will  of  the  officiating  priest^)  By  means  of  it 
the  Brahmans  may,  in  fact,  be  said  to  hold  the  gods  in 
their  hands. 

The  religion  of  the  Yajurveda  may  be  described 
as  a  kind  of  mechanical  sacerdotalism.  A  crowd  of 
priests  conducts  a  vast  and  complicated  system  of 
external  ceremonies,  to  which  symbolical  significance 
is  attributed,  and  to  the  smallest  minutiae  of  which 
the  greatest  weight  is  attached.  In  this  stifling  atmos- 
phere of  perpetual  sacrifice  and  ritual,  the  truly  religious 
spirit  of  the  Rigveda  could  not  possibly  survive.  Adora- 
tion of  the  power  and  beneficence  of  the  gods,  as  well 
as  the  consciousness  of  guilt,  is  entirely  lacking,  every 
prayer  being  coupled  with  some  particular  rite  and 
aiming  solely  at  securing  material  advantages.  As  a 
natural  result,  the  formulas  of  the  Yajurveda  are  full  of 
dreary  repetitions  or  variations  of  the  same  idea,  and 
abound  with  half  or  wholly  unintelligible  interjections, 
particularly  the  syllable  om.  The  following  quotation 
from  the  Maitrdyani  Samhitd  is  a  good  example  : 
Nidhdyo  vd  nidhdyo  vd  om  vd  om  vd  om  vd  e  ai  om 
svarnajyotih.  Here  only  the  last  word,  which  means 
"golden  light,"  is  translatable. 

Thus  the  ritual  could  not  fail  to  become  more 
and  more  of  a  mystery  to  all  who  did  not  belong 
to  the  Brahman  caste.  To  its  formulas,  no  less  than 
to  the  sacrifice  itself,  control  over  Nature  as  well  as 
the  supernatural  powers  is  attributed.  Thus  there  are 
certain  formulas  for  the  obtainment  of  victory ;  by 
means  of  these,  it  is  said,  Indra  constantly  vanquished 
the  demons.  Again,  we  learn  that,  if  the  priest  pro- 


nounces  a  formula  for  rain  while  mixing  a  certain 
offering,  he  causes  the  rain  to  stream  down.  Hence 
the  formulas  are  regarded  as  having  a  kind  of  magical 
effect  by  exercising  compulsion.  Similar  miraculous 
powers  later  came  to  be  attached  to  penance  and  asceti- 
cism among  the  Brahmans,  and  to  holiness  among  the 
Buddhists.  The  formulas  of  the  Yajurveda  have  not,  as 
a  rule,  the  form  of  prayers  addressed  to  the  gods,  but 
on  the  whole  and  characteristically  consist  of  statements 
about  the  result  of  employing  particular  rites  and 
mantras.  Together  with  the  corresponding  ritual  they 
furnish  a  complex  mass  of  appliances  ready  to  hand 
for  the  obtainment  of  material  welfare  in  general  as 
well  as  all  sorts  of  special  objects,  such  as  cattle  or  a 
village.  The  presence  of  a  priest  capable  of  using  the 
necessary  forms  correctly  is  of  course  always  presup- 
posed. The  desires  which  several  rites  are  meant  to 
fulfil  amount  to  nothing  more  than  childish  absurdity. 
Thus  some  of  them  aim  at  the  obtainment  of  the  year. 
Formulas  to  secure  possession  of  the  moon  would  have 
had  equal  practical  value. 

Hand  in  hand  with  the  elaboration  of  the  sacrificial 
ceremonial  went  the  growth  and  consolidation  of  the 
caste  system,  in  which  the  Brahmans  secured  the  social 
as  well  as  the  religious  supremacy,  and  which  has  held 
India  enchained  for  more  than  two  thousand  five  hundred 
years.  Not  only  do  we  find  the  four  castes  firmly 
established  as  the  main  divisions  of  Indian  society  in 
the  Yajurveday  but,  as  one  of  the  later  books  of  the 
Vajasaneyi  Samhitd  shows,  most  of  the  mixed  castes 
known  in  later  times  are  already  found  to  exist.  The 
social  as  well  as  the  religious  conditions  of  the  Indian 
people,  therefore,  now  wear   an   aspect  essentially  dif- 


fering  from  those  revealed  to  us  in  the  hymns  of  the 

The  Rig-,  Sdma-1  and  Yajur-vedas  alone  were  origin- 
ally recognised  as  canonical  collections.  For  they  only 
were  concerned  with  the  great  sacrificial  ceremonial. 
(The  Atharva-veda,  with  the  exception  of  the  last  book, 
which  was  obviously  added  in  order  to  connect  it  with 
that  ceremonial,  is  essentially  unconnected  with  iO 
The  ceremonial  to  which  its  hymns  were  practically 
applied  is,  with  few  exceptions,  that  with  which  the 
Grihya  Sutras  deal,  being  domestic  rites  such  as  those 
of  birth,  marriage,  and  death,  or  the  political  rites  re- 
lating to  the  inauguration  of  kings.  Taken  as  a  whole, 
it  is  a  heterogeneous  collection  of  spells.  Its  most 
salient  teaching  is  sorcery,  for  it  is  mainly  directed 
against  hostile  agencies,  such  as  diseases,  noxious 
animals,  demons,  wizards,  foes,  oppressors  of  Brah- 
mans.  But  it  also  contains  many  spells  of  an  auspi- 
cious character,  such  as  charms  to  secure  harmony  in 
family  and  village  life,  reconciliation  of  enemies,  long 
life,  health,  and  prosperity,  besides  prayers  for  protection 
on  journeys,  and  for  luck  in  gambling.  (Thus  it  has  a 
double  aspect,  being  meant  to  appease  cTnd  bless  as 
,well  as  to  curse^ 

In  its  main  contents  the  Atharva-veda  is  more 
superstitious  than  the  Rigveda,  (For  it  does  not  re- 
present the  more  advanced  religious  beliefs  of  the 
priestly  class,  but  is  a  collection  of  the  most  popular 
spells  current  among  the  masseV  who  always  preserve 
more  primitive  notions  with  regard  to  demoniac  powers. 
The  spirit  which  breathes  in  it  is  that  of  a  prehistoric 
age.  A  few  of  its  actual  charms  probably  date  with 
little    modification    from    the    Indo-European    period; 


for,  as  Adalbert  Kuhn  has  shown,  some  of  its  spells 
for  curing  bodily  ailments  agree  in  purpose  and  con- 
tent, as  well  as  to  some  extent  even  in  form,  with 
certain  old  German,  Lettic,  and  Russian  charms.  But 
with  regard  to  the  higher  religious  ideas  relating  to 
the  gods,  it  represents  a  more  recent  and  advanced 
stage  than  the  Rigveda.  It  contains,  indeed,  more 
theosophic  matter  than  any  of  the  other  Samhitas.  For 
the  history  of  civilisation  it  is  on  the  whole  more  in- 
teresting and  important  than  the  Rigveda  itself. 

The  Atharva-veda  is  extant  in  the  recensions  of  two 
different  schools.  That  of  the  Paippaladas  is,  however, 
known  in  a  single  birch-bark  manuscript,  which  is 
ancient  but  inaccurate  and  mostly  unaccented.  It  was 
discovered  by  Professor  Biihler  in  Kashmir,  and  has 
been  described  by  Professor  Roth  in  his  tract  Der 
Atharuaveda  in  Kaschmir  (1875).  It  will  probably  soon 
be  accessible  to  scholars  in  the  form  of  a  photogra- 
phic reproduction  published  by  Professor  Bloomfield. 
This  recension  is  doubtless  meant  by  the  "  Paippalada 
Mantras  "  mentioned  in  one  of  the  Paricishtas  or  supple- 
mentary writings  of  the  Atharva-veda. 

The  printed  text,  edited  by  Roth  and  Whitney  in 
1856,  gives  the  recension  of  the  (^aunaka  school.  Nearly 
the  whole  of  Sayana's  commentary  to  the  Atharva-veda 
has  been  edited  in  India.  Its  chief  interest  lies  in  the 
large  number  of  readings  supplied  by  it  which  differ 
from  those  of  the  printed  edition  of  this  Veda. 

This  Samhita  is  divided  into  twenty  books,  contain- 
ing 730  hymns  and  about  6000  stanzas.  Some  1200  of 
the  latter  are  derived  from  the  Rigveda,  chiefly  from 
the  tenth,  first,  and  eighth  books,  a  few  also  from  each 
of  the  other  books.     Of  the  143  hymns  of  Book  XX., 


all  but  twelve  are  taken  bodily  from  the  established 
text  of  the  Rigveda  without  any  change.  The  matter 
borrowed  from  the  Rigveda  in  the  other  books  shows 
considerable  varieties  of  reading,  but  these,  as  in  the 
other  Samhitas,  are  of  inferior  value  compared  with  the 
text  of  the  Rigveda.  As  is  the  case  in  the  Yajurveda, 
a  considerable  part  of  the  Atharva  (about  one-sixth)  con- 
sists of  prose.  Upwards  of  fifty  hymns,  comprising  the 
whole  of  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth,  besides  some  thirty 
hymns  scattered  in  the  other  books,  are  entirely  un- 
metrical.  Parts  or  single  stanzas  of  over  a  hundred 
other  hymns  are  of  a  similar  character. 

That  the  Atharva-veda  originally  consisted  of  its  first 
thirteen  books  only  is  shown  both  by  its  arrangement 
and  by  its  subject-matter.  The  contents  of  Books  I- 
VII.  are  distributed  according  to  the  number  of  stanzas 
contained  in  the  hymns.  In  Book  I.  they  have  on  the 
average  four  stanzas,  in  II.  five,  in  III.  six,  in  IV.  seven, 
in  V.  eight  to  eighteen,  in  VI.  three  ;  and  in  VII.  about 
half  the  hymns  have  only  one  stanza  each.  Books 
VIII.— XIII.  contain  longer  pieces.  The  contents  of  all 
these  thirteen  books  are  indiscriminately  intermingled. 

The  following  five  books,  on  the  contrary,  are  arranged 
according  to  uniformity  of  subject-matter.  Book  XIV. 
contains  the  stanzas  relating  to  the  wedding  rite,  which 
consist  largely  of  mantras  from  the  tenth  book  of  the 
Rigveda.  Book  XV.  is  a  glorification  of  the  Supreme 
Being  under  the  name  of  Vratya,  while  XVI.  and  XVII. 
contain  certain  conjurations.  The  whole  of  XV.  and 
nearly  the  whole  of  XVI.,  moreover,  are  composed  in 
prose  of  the  type  found  in  the  Brahmanas.  Both  XVI. 
and  XVII.  are  very  short,  the  former  containing  nine 
hymns  occupying  four  printed  pages,  the  latter  consist- 


ing  of  only  a  single  hymn,  which  extends  to  little  more 
than  two  pages.  Book  XVIII.  deals  with  burial  and 
the  Manes.  Like  XIV.,  it  derives  most  of  its  stanzas 
from  the  tenth  book  of  the  Rigveda.  Both  these  books 
are,  therefore,  not  specifically  Atharvan  in  character. 

The  last  two  books  are  manifestly  late  additions. 
Book  XIX.  consists  of  a  mixture  of  supplementary 
pieces,  part  of  the  text  of  which  is  rather  corrupt. 
Book  XX.,  with  a  slight  exception,  contains  only  com- 
plete hymns  addressed  to  Indra,  which  are  borrowed 
directly  and  without  any  variation  from  the  Rigveda. 
The  fact  that  its  readings  are  identical  with  those  of 
the  Rigveda  would  alone  suffice  to  show  that  it  is  of 
later  date  than  the  original  books,  the  readings  of 
which  show  considerable  divergences  from  those  of  the 
older  Veda.  There  is,  however,  more  convincing  proof 
of  the  lateness  of  this  book.  Its  matter  relates  to 
the  Soma  ritual,  and  is  entirely  foreign  to  the  spirit 
of  the  Atharva-veda.  It  was  undoubtedly  added  to 
establish  the  claim  of  the  Atharva  to  the  position  of  a 
fourth  Veda,  by  bringing  it  into  connection  with  the 
recognised  sacrificial  ceremonial  of  the  three  old  Vedas. 
This  book,  again,  as  well  .  as  the  nineteenth,  is  not 
noticed  in  the  Praticakhya  of  the  Atharva-veda.  Both 
of  them  must,  therefore,  have  been  added  after  that 
work  was  composed.  Excepting  two  prose  pieces  (48 
and  49)  the  only  original  part  of  Book  XX.  is  the 
so-called  kuntapa  hymns  (127-136).  These  are  allied  to 
the  ddnastutis  of  the  Rigveda,  those  panegyrics  of  liberal 
kings  or  sacrificers  which  were  the  forerunners  of  epic 
narratives  in  praise  of  warlike  princes  and  heroes. 

The  existence  of  the  Atharvay  as  a  collection  of 
some  kind,  when  the  last  books  of  the  Qatapatha  Brah- 


mana  (xi.,  xiii.,  xiv.),  the  Taittirlya  Brdhmana,  and  the 
Chhdndogya  Upanishad  were  composed,  is  proved  by  the 
references  to  it  in  those  works.  In  Patanjali's  Mahd- 
bJidshya  the  Atharva  had  already  attained  to  such  an 
assured  position  that  it  is  even  cited  at  the  head  of  the 
Vedas,  and  occasionally  as  their  only  representative. 

The  oldest  name  of  this  Veda  is  Atharvdngirasah,  a 
designation  occurring  in  the  text  of  the  Atharva-veda, 
and  found  at  the  beginning  of  its  MSS.  themselves.  This 
word  is  a  compound  formed  of  the  names  of  two  ancient 
families  of  priests,  the  Atharvans  and  Angirases.  In  the 
opinion  of  Professor  Bloomneld  the  former  term  is  here 
synonymous  with  "  holy  charms/'  as  referring  to  auspi- 
cious practices,  while  the  latter  is  an  equivalent  of 
"  witchcraft  charms."  The  term  atharvan  and  its  deriva- 
tives, though  representing  only  its  benevolent  side,  would 
thus  have  come  to  designate  the  fourth  Veda  as  a  whole. 
In  its  plural  form  {atharvdnaJt)  the  word  in  this  sense  is 
found  several  times  in  the  Brahmanas,  but  in  the  singular 
it  seems  first  to  occur  in  an  Upanishad.  The  adjective 
dtharvana,  first  found  as  a  neuter  plural  with  the  sense 
of  "Atharvan  hymns"  in  the  Atharva-veda  itself  (Book 
XIX.),  is  common  from  that  time  onwards.  The  name 
atharva-veda  first  appears  in  Sutras  about  as  early  as 
rigveda  and  similar  designations  of  the  other  Samhitas. 
There  are  besides  two  other  names  of  the  Atharva-veda, 
the  use  of  which  is  practically  limited  to  the  ritual  texts 
of  this  Veda.  In  one  of  these,  Bhrigu-angirasah,  the 
name  of  another  ancient  family  of  fire-priests,  the 
Bhrigus,  takes  the  place  of  that  of  the  Angirases.  The 
other,  brahma-veday  has  outside  the  Atharvan  literature 
only  been  found  once,  and  that  in  a  Grihya  Sutra  of  the 


A  considerable  time  elapsed  before  the  Atharva-veda, 
owing  to  the  general  character  of  its  contents,  attained 
to  the  rank  of  a  canonical  book.  There  is  no  evidence 
that  even  at  the  latest  period  of  the  Rigveda  the  charms 
constituting  the  Atharva-veda  were  formally  recognised 
as  a  separate  literary  category.  For  the  Purusha  hymn, 
while  mentioning  the  three  sacrificial  Vedas  by  the  names 
of  Rik,  Saman,  and  Yajus,  makes  no  reference  to  the 
spells  of  the  Atharva-veda.  Yet  the  Rigveda,  though  it 
is  mainly  concerned  with  praises  of  the  gods  in  con- 
nection with  the  sacrifice,  contains  hymns  showing 
that  sorcery  was  bound  up  with  domestic  practices  from 
the  earliest  times  in  India.  The  only  reference  to  the 
spells  of  the  Atharva-veda  as  a  class  in  the  Yajurvedas 
is  found  in  the  Taittirlya  Samhita,  where  they  are  alluded 
to  under  the  name  of  angirasah  by  the  side  of  Rik, 
Saman,  and  Yajus,  which  it  elsewhere  mentions  alone. 
Yet  the  formulas  of  the  Yajur-veda  are  often  pervaded 
by  the  spirit  of  the  Atharva-veda,  and  are  sometimes 
Atharvan  even  in  their  wording.  In  fact,  the  difference 
between  the  Rigveda  and  Yajurveda  on  the  one  hand, 
and  the  Atharva  on  the  other,  as  regards  sorcery,  lies 
solely  in  the  degree  of  its  applicability  and  prominence. 

The  Atharva-veda  itself  only  once  mentions  its  own 
literary  type  directly  (as  atharvangirasaJi)  and  once  in- 
directly (as  bheshaja  or  "auspicious  spells"),  by  the  side 
of  the  other  three  Vedas,  while  the  latter  in  a  consider- 
able number  of  passages  are  referred  to  alone.  This' 
shows  that  as  yet  there  was  no  feeling  of  antagonism 
between  the  adherents  of  this  Veda  and  those  of  the 
older  ones. 

Turning  to  the  Brahmanas,  we  find  that  those  of  the 
Rigveda  do  not  mention  the  Atharva-veda  at  all,  while 


the  Taittirlya  Brdhmana  (like  the  Taittiriya  Aranyakd) 
refers  to  it  twice.  In  the  ^atapatha  Brdhmana  it  appears 
more  frequently,  occupying  a  more  defined  position, 
though  not  that  of  a  Veda.  This  work  very  often 
mentions  the  three  old  Vedas  alone,  either  explicitly  as 
Riky  Sdmany  Yajus,  or  as  trayl  vidyd,  "the  threefold 
knowledge."  In  several  passages  they  are  also  mentioned 
along  with  other  literary  types,  such  as  itihdsa  (story), 
purdna  (ancient  legend)  gdthd  (song),  siitra,  and  upani- 
shad.  In  these  enumerations  the  Atharva-veda  regularly 
occupies  the  fourth  place,  coming  immediately  after  the 
three  Vedas,  while  the  rest  follow  in  varying  order.  The 
Upanishads  in  general  treat  the  Atharva-veda  in  the  same 
way  ;  the  Upanishads  of  the  Atharva  itself,  however, 
sometimes  tacitly  add  its  name  after  the  three  Vedas, 
even  without  mentioning  other  literary  types.  With 
regard  to  the  (^rauta  or  sacrificial  Sutras,  we  find  no 
reference  to  the  Atharva  in  those  of  Katyayana  {White 
Yajurvedd)  or  Latyayana  {Sdmaveda)}  and  only  one  each 
in  those  of  (Jankhayana  and  Acvalayana  {Rigvedd). 

In  all  this  sacrificial  literature  there  is  no  evidence  of 
repugnance  to  the  Atharva,  or  of  exclusiveness  towards 
it  on  the  part  of  followers  of  the  other  Vedas.  Such 
an  attitude  could  indeed  hardly  be  expected.  For  though 
the  sphere  of  the  Vedic  sacrificial  ritual  was  different 
from  that  of  regular  magical  rites,  it  is  impossible  to 
draw  a  distinct  line  of  demarcation  between  sacrifice  and 
sorcery  in  the  Vedic  religion,  of  which  witchcraft  is,  in 
fact,  an  essential  element.  The  adherents  of  the  three 
sacrificial  Vedas  would  thus  naturally  recognise  a  work 
which  was  a  repository  of  witchcraft.  Thus  the  ^atapatha 
Brdhmana,  though  characterising  yatu  or  sorcery  as 
devilish — doubtless  because  it  may  be  dangerous  to  those 


who  practise  it — places  yatuvidah  or  sorcerers  by  the  side 
of  bahvrichas  or  men  skilled  in  Rigvedic  verses.  Just  as 
the  Rigveda  contains  very  few  hymns  directly  connected 
with  the  practice  of  sorcery,  so  the  Atharva  originally 
included  only  matters  incidental  and  subsidiary  to  the 
sacrificial  ritual.  Thus  it  contains  a  series  of  formulas 
(vi.  47-48)  which  have  no  meaning  except  in  connection 
with  the  three  daily  pressings  (savana)  of  soma.  We  also 
find  in  it  hymns  {e.g.  vi.  114)  which  evidently  consist  of 
formulas  of  expiation  for  faults  committed  at  the  sacrifice. 
We  must  therefore  conclude  that  the  followers  of  the 
Atharva  to  some  extent  knew  and  practised  the  sacrificial 
ceremonial  before  the  conclusion  of  the  present  redaction 
of  their  hymns.  The  relation  of  the  Atharva  to  the 
crauta  rites  was,  however,  originally  so  slight,  that  it 
became  necessary,  in  order  to  establish  a  direct  connec- 
tion with  it,  to  add  the  twentieth  book,  which  was 
compiled  from  the  Rigveda  for  the  purposes  of  the 
sacrificial  ceremonial. 

The  conspicuous  way  in  which  crauta  works  ignore 
the  Atharva  is  therefore  due  to  its  being  almost  entirely 
unconnected  with  the  subject-matter  of  the  sacrifice, 
not  to  any  pronounced  disapproval  or  refusal  to  re- 
cognise its  value  in  its  own  sphere.  With  the  Grihya 
or  Domestic  Sutras,  which  contain  many  elements  of 
sorcery  practice  (vz'dhdna),  we  should  expect  the 
Atharva  to  betray  a  closer  connection.  This  is,  indeed, 
to  some  extent  the  case  ;  for  many  verses  quoted  in 
these  Sutras  are  identical  with  or  variants  of  those 
contained  in  the  Atharvaf  even  though  the  Domestic, 
like  the  Sacrificial,  Sutras  endeavoured  to  borrow  their 
verses  as  far  as  possible  from  the  particular  Veda  to 
which  they  were  attached.     Otherwise,  however,  their 


references  to  the  Atharva  betray  no  greater  regard  for 
it  than  those  in  the  Sacrificial  Sutras  do.  Such  refer- 
ences to  the  fourth  Veda  are  here,  it  is  true,  more 
frequent  and  formulaic ;  but  this  appears  to  mean 
nothing  more  than  that  the  Grihya  Sutras  belong  to  a 
later  date. 

In  the  sphere,  too,  of  law  (dharmd),  as  dealing  with 
popular  usage  and  custom,  the  practices  of  the  Atharva 
maintained  a  certain  place ;  for  the  indispensable 
sciences  of  medicine  and  astrology  were  distinctively 
Atharvan,  and  the  king's  domestic  chaplain  (purohita), 
believed  capable  of  rendering  great  services  in  the 
injury  and  overthrow  of  enemies  by  sorcery,  seems 
usually  to  have  been  an  Atharvan  priest.  At  the  same 
time  it  is  only  natural  that  we  should  first  meet  with 
censures  of  the  practices  of  the  Atharva  in  the  legal 
literature,  because  such  practices  were  thought  to 
enable  one  man  to  harm  another.  The  verdict  of  the 
law  treatises  on  the  whole  is,  that  as  incantations  of 
various  kinds  are  injurious,  the  Atharva-veda  is  inferior 
and  its  practices  impure.  This  inferiority  is  directly 
expressed  in  the  Dharma  Sutra  of  Apastamba ;  and 
the  later  legal  treatise  (smriti)  of  Vishnu  classes  the 
reciter  of  a  deadly  incantation  from  the  Atharva  among 
the  seven  kinds  of  assassins.  Physicians  and  astro- 
logers are  pronounced  impure ;  practices  with  roots 
are  prohibited  ;  sorceries  and  imprecations  are  punished 
with  severe  penances.  In  certain  cases,  however,  the 
Atharva-veda  is  stated  to  be  useful.  Thus  the  Lawbook 
of  Manu  recommends  it  as  the  natural  weapon  of  the 
Brahman  against  his  enemies. 

In  the  Mahabharata  we  find  the  importance  and  the 
canonical    character   of    the   Atharva   fully   recognised. 


The  four  Vedas  are  often  mentioned,  the  gods  Brahma 
and  Vishnu  being  in  several  passages  described  as 
having  created  them.  The  Atharva  is  here  often  also 
referred  to  alone,  and  spoken  of  with  approbation. 
Its  practices  are  well  known  and  seldom  criticised  ad- 
versely, magic  and  sorcery  being,  as  a  rule,  regarded  as 

Finally,  the  Puranas  not  only  regularly  speak  of  the 
fourfold  Veda,  but  assign  to  the  Atharva  the  advanced 
position  claimed  for  it  by  its  own  ritual  literature. 
Thus  the  Vishnu  Purana  connects  the  Atharva  with 
the  fourth  priest  (the  brahman)  of  the  sacrificial  ritual. 

Nevertheless  a  certain  prejudice  has  prevailed  against 
the  Atharva  from  the  time  of  the  Dharma  Sutras.  This 
appears  from  the  fact  that,  even  at  the  present  day, 
according  to  Burnell,  the  most  influential  Brahmans  of 
Southern  India  still  refuse  to  accept  the  authority  of 
the  fourth  Veda,  and  deny  its  genuineness.  A  similar 
conclusion  may  be  drawn  from  occasional  state- 
ments in  classical  texts,  and  especially  from  the  efforts 
of  the  later  Atharvan  writings  themselves  to  vindicate 
the  character  of  their  Veda.  (These  ritual  texts  not 
only  never  enumerate  the  Vedas  without  including  the 
Atharva,  but  even  sometimes  place  it  at  the  head  of 
the  four  Vedas>v  Under  a  sense  of  the  exclusion  of  their 
Veda  from  the  sphere  of  the  sacrificial  ritual,  they  lay 
claim  to  the  fourth  priest  (the  brahman),  who  in  the 
Vedic  religion  was  not  attached  to  any  of  the  three 
Vedas,  but  being  required  to  have  a  knowledge  of  all 
three  and  of  their  sacrificial  application,  acted  as  super- 
intendent or  director  of  the  sacrificial  ceremonial.  In- 
geniously availing  themselves  of  the  fact  that  he  was 
unconnected   with   any   of   the   three   Vedas,   they   put 


forward  the  claim  of  the  fourth  Veda  as  the  special 
sphere  of  the  fourth  priest.  That  priest,  moreover,  was 
the  most  important  as  possessing  a  universal  knowledge 
of  religious  lore  {brahma\  the  comprehensive  esoteric 
understanding  of  the  nature  of  the  gods  and  of  the 
mystery  of  the  sacrifice.  Hence  the  Gopatha  Brahmana 
exalts  the  Atharva  as  the  highest  religious  lore  (brahmd)^ 
and  calls  it  the  Brahmaveda.  The  claim  to  the  latter 
designation  was  doubtless  helped  by  the  word  brahma 
often  occurring  in  the  Atharva-veda  itself  with  the  sense 
of  "  charm,"  and  by  the  fact  that  the  Veda  contains  a 
larger  amount  of  theosophic  matter  {brahmavidya)  than 
any  other  Samhita.  The  texts  belonging  to  the  other 
Vedas  never  suggest  that  the  Atharva  is  the  sphere  of 
the  fourth  priest,  some  Brahmana  passages  expressly  de- 
claring that  any  one  equipped  with  the  requisite  know- 
ledge maybe  ^brahman.  The  ritual  texts  of  the  Atharva 
further  energetically  urged  that  the  Purohita,  or  domestic 
chaplain,  should  be  a  follower  of  the  Atharva-veda. 
They  appear  to  have  finally  succeeded  in  their  claim 
to  this  office,  doubtless  because  kings  attached  great 
value  to  a  special  knowledge  of  witchcraft. 

The  geographical  data  contained  in  the  Atharva  are 
but  few,  and  furnish  no  certain  evidence  as  to  the 
region  in  which  its  hymns  were  composed.  One  hymn 
of  its  older  portion  (v.  22)  makes  mention  of  the 
Gandharis,  Mujavats,  Mahavrishas,  and  Balhikas  (in 
the  north-west),  and  the  Magadhas  and  Angas  (in  the 
east) ;  but  they  are  referred  to  in  such  a  way  that  no 
safe  conclusions  can  be  drawn  as  to  the  country  in 
which  the  composer  of  the  hymn  in  question  lived. 

The  Atharva  also  contains  a  few  astronomical  data, 
the  lunar  mansions  being  enumerated  in  the  nineteenth 


book.  The  names  here  given  deviate  considerably  from 
those  mentioned  in  the  Taittirlya  Samhita,  appearing 
mostly  in  a  later  form.  The  passage  in  which  this  list 
is  found  is,  however,  a  late  addition. 

The  language  of  the  Atharva  is,  from  a  grammatical 
point  of  view,  decidedly  later  than  that  of  the  Rigveda, 
but  earlier  than  that  of  the  Brahmanas.  In  voca- 
bulary it  is  chiefly  remarkable  for  the  large  number  of 
popular  words  which  it  contains,  and  which  from  lack 
of  opportunity  do  not  appear  elsewhere. 

It  seems  probable  that  the  hymns  of  the  Atharva, 
though  some  of  them  must  be  very  old,  were  not  edited 
till  after  the  Brahmanas  of  the  Rigveda  were  composed. 

On  examining  the  contents  of  the  Atharva-veda  more 
in  detail,  we  find  that  the  hostile  charms  it  contains 
are  directed  largely  against  various  diseases  or  the 
demons  which  are  supposed  to  cause  them.  There  are 
spells  to  cure  fever  (takman),  leprosy,  jaundice,  dropsy, 
scrofula,  cough,  ophthalmia,  baldness,  lack  of  vital 
power ;  fractures  and  wounds ;  the  bite  of  snakes  or 
injurious  insects,  and  poison  in  general ;  mania  and 
other  ailments.  These  charms  are  accompanied  by  the 
employment  of  appropriate  herbs.  Hence  the  Atharva 
is  the  oldest  literary  monument  of  Indian  medicine. 

The  following  is  a  specimen  of  a  charm  against  cough 
(vi.  105)  :— 

Just  as  the  sold  with  soul-desires 
Swift  to  a  dista?ice  flies  away, 
So  even  thou,  O  cough,  fly  forth 
Along  the  souPs  qidck-darting  course. 

Just  as  the  arrow,  sharpened  well, 
Swift  to  a  dista?ice  flies  away, 
So  even  thou,  O  cough,  fly  forth 
Along  the  broad  expanse  of  earth. 


Just  as  the  sun-god's  shooting  rays 
Swift  to  a  distance  fly  away, 
So  even  thou,  O  cough,  fly  forth 
Along  the  ocean\s  surging  flood. 

Here  is  a  spell  for  the  cure  of  leprosy  by  means  of 
a  dark-coloured  plant  : — 

Born  in  the  night  art  thou,  0  herb, 
Dark-coloured,  sable,  black  of  hue  : 
Rich-thited,  tinge  this  leprosy, 
And  stain  away  its  spots  of  grey  !  (i.  23,  1). 

A  large  number  of  imprecations  are  directed  against 
demons,  sorcerers,  and  enemies.  The  following  two 
stanzas  deal  with  the  latter  two  classes  respectively  : — 

Bend  round  and  pass  us  by,  O  curse, 

Even  as  a  burning  fire  a  lake. 

Here  strike  him  down  that  curses  us, 

As  heaverfs  lightning  smites  the  tree  (vi.  37,  2). 

As,  rising  in  the  east,  the  sun 

The  stars'  bright  lustre  takes  away, 

So  both  of  wo?nen  and  of  men, 

My  foes,  the  strength  I  take  away  (vii.  13,  1). 

A  considerable  group  of  spells  consists  of  imprecations 
directed  against  the  oppressors  of  Brahmans  and  those 
who  withhold  from  them  their  rightful  rewards.  The 
following  is  one  of  the  threats  held  out  against  such  evil- 
doers : — 

Water  with  which  they  bathe  the  dead, 
And  that  with  which  they  wet  his  beard, 
The  gods  assigned  thee  as  thy  share, 
Oppressor  of  the  Brahman  priest  (v.  19,  14). 

Another  group  of  charms  is  concerned  with  women, 
being   intended   to   secure   their    love   with   the   aid    of 


various  potent  herbs.  Some  of  them  are  of  a  hostile 
character,  being  meant  to  injure  rivals.  The  following 
two  stanzas  belong  to  the  former  class  : — 

As  round  this  heaven  and  earth  the  sun 

Goes  day  by  day,  encircling  them, 

So  do  I  go  around  thy  mind, 

That,  woman,  thou  shalt  love  me  well, 

And  shalt  not  turn  away  from  me  (vi.  8,  3). 

'  Tis  winged  with  longing,  barbed  with  love, 

Its  shaft  is  forrfied  of  fixed  desire  : 

With  this  his  arrow  levelled  well 

Shall  Kama  pierce  thee  to  the  heart  (iii.  25,  2). 

Among  the  auspicious  charms  of  the  Atharva  there 
are  many  prayers  for  long  life  and  health,  for  exemption 
from  disease  and  death  : — 

If  life  in  him  declines  or  has  departed, 

If  on  the  very  brink  of  death  he  totters, 

I  snatch  him  from  the  lap  of  Dissolution, 

I  free  him  now  to  live  a  hundred  autumns  (iii.  II,  2). 

Rise  upfront  hence,  O  man,  and  straightway  casting 
Death's  fetters  from  thy  feet,  depart  not  downward; 
Frotn  life  upon  this  earth  be  not  yet  sundered, 
Nor  from  the  sight  of  Ag?ii  and  the  sunlight  (viii.  I,  4). 

Another  class  of  hymns  includes  prayers  for  pro- 
tection from  dangers  and  calamities,  or  for  prosperity 
in  the  house  or  field,  in  cattle,  trade,  and  even  gambling. 
Here  are  two  spells  meant  to  secure  luck  at  play  : — 

As  at  all  times  the  lightning  stroke 
Smites  irresistibly  the  tree  : 
So  gamesters  with  the  dice  would  I 
Beat  irresistibly  to-day  (vii.  5,  1). 


O  dice,  give  play  that  profit  brings, 

Like  cows  that  yield  abundant  milk  : 

Attach  me  to  a  streak  of  gain, 

As  with  a  string  the  bow  is  bound  (vii.  5,  9). 

A  certain  number  of  hymns  contain  charms  to  secure 
harmony,  to  allay  anger,  strife,  and  discord,  or  to  pro- 
cure ascendency  in  the  assembly.  The  following  one  is 
intended  for  the  latter  purpose  : — 

O  assembly,  we  know  thy  name, 

"  Frolic"  1  truly  by  name  thou  art : 

May  all  who  meet  and  sit  in  thee 

Be  in  their  speech  at  one  with  me  (vii.  1 2,  2). 

A  few  hymns  consist  of  formulas  for  the  expiation 
of  sins,  such  as  offering  imperfect  sacrifices  and  marry- 
ing before  an  elder  brother,  or  contain  charms  for  re- 
moving the  defilement  caused  by  ominous  birds,  and  for 
banishing  evil  dreams. 

If  waking,  if  asleep,  I  have 

Committed  sin,  to  sin  inclined, 

May  what  has  been  and  what  shall  be 

Loose  me  as  from  a  wooden  post  (vi.  115,  2). 

A  short  hymn  (vi.  120),  praying  for  the  remission  of 
sins,  concludes  with  this  stanza  : —    , 

In  heaven,  where  our  righteous  friends  are  blessed, 
Having  cast  off  diseases  from  their  bodies, 
From  lameness  free  and  not  defotmed  in  mernbers, 
There  may  we  see  our  parents  and  our  children. 

Another  group  of  hymns  has  the  person  of  the  king 
as  its  centre.  They  contain  charms  to  be  used  at  a 
royal  election  or  consecration,  for  the  restoration  of  an 

1  The  word  "frolic  "  alludes  to  the  assembly -house  (sab/id)  being  a  place 
of  social  entertainment,  especially  of  gambling. 


exiled  king,  for  the  attainment  of  lustre  and  glory,  and 
in  particular  for  victory  in  battle.  The  following  is  a 
specimen  of  spells  intended  to  strike  terror  into  the 
enemy : — 

Arise  and  arm,  ye  spectral  forms, 

Followed  by  meteoric  flames ; 

Ye  serpents,  spirits  of  the  deep, 

Demons  of  night,  pursue  the  foe  /  (xi.  10,  i). 

Here  is  a  stanza  from  a  hymn  (v.  21,  6)  to  the  battle- 
drum  meant  to  serve  the  same  purpose  : — 

As  birds  start  back  affrighted  at  the  eagle's  cry, 
As  day  and  night  they  tre7nble  at  the  lion7s  roar: 
So  thou,  0  drum,  shout  out  against  our  enemies, 
Scare  them  away  in  terror  and  confound  their  minds. 

Among  the  cosmogonic  and  theosophic  hymns  the 
finest  is  a  long  one  of  sixty-three  stanzas  addressed  to 
the  earth  (xii.  1).  I  translate  a  few  lines  to  give  some 
idea  of  its  style  and  contents : — 

The  earth,  on  whom,  with  clamour  loud, 

Men  that  are  mortal  sing  and  dance, 

On  whom  they  fight  in  battle  fierce  : 

This  earth  shall  drive  away  from  us  our  foemen, 

And  she  shall  make  us  free  froni  all  our  rivals. 

In  secret  places  holding  treasure  manifold, 

The  earth  shall  riches  give,  and  gems  and  gold  to  me  ; 

Gra?iting  wealth  lavishly,  the  kindly  goddess 

Shall  goods  abundantly  bestow  upon  us. 

The  four  hymns  of  Book  XIII.  are  devoted  to  the 
praise  of  Rohita,  the  "  Red "  Sun,  as  a  cosmogonic 
powrer.  In  another  (xi.  5)  the  sun  is  glorified  as  a 
primeval  principle  under  the  guise  of  a  Brahman  dis- 
ciple (brahtnachdriri).  Hn  others  Prana  or  Breath  (xi.  4), 
Kama  or  Love  (ix.  2),  and   Kala  or  Time  (xix.  53-54), 


are  personified  as  primordial  powersV  There  is  one  hymn 
(xi.  7)  in  which  even  Ucchishta  -(the  remnant  of  the 
sacrifice)  is  deified  as  the  Supreme  Being ;  except  for 
its  metrical  form  it  belongs  to  the  Brahmana  type  of 

In  concluding  this  survey  of  the  Atharva-veday  I 
would  draw  attention  to  a  hymn  to  Varuna  (iv.  16), 
which,  though  its  last  two  stanzas  are  ordinary  Atharvan 
spells  for  binding  enemies  with  the  fetters  of  that  deity, 
in  its  remaining  verses  exalts  divine  omniscience  in  a 
strain  unequalled  in  any  other  Vedic  poem.  The  follow- 
ing three  stanzas  are  perhaps  the  best : — 

This  earth  is  all  King  Varuna 's  dominion, 
And  that  broad  sky  whose  boundaries  are  distant. 
The  loins  of  Varuna  are  these  two  oceans, 
Yet  in  this  drop  of  water  he  is  hidden. 

He  that  should  flee  afar  beyond  the  heaven 
Would  not  escape.  King  Varuna 's  attention  : 
His  spies  come  hither,  from  the  sky  descending, 
With  all  their  thousand  eyes  the  earth  surveying. 

King  Varuna  discerns  all  that's  existent 
Between  the  earth  and  sky,  and  all  beyond  them; 
The  winkings  of  'men's  eyes  by  him  are  counted j 
As  gamesters  dice,  so  he  lays,  down  his  statutes. 



{Circa  800-500  B.C.) 

The  period  in  which  the  poetry  of  the  Vedic  Samhitas 
arose  was  followed  by  one  which  produced  a  totally 
different  literary  type — the  theological  treatises  called 
Brahmanas.  It  is  characteristic  of  the  form  of  these 
works  that  they  are  composed  in  prose,  and  of  their 
matter  that  they  deal  with  the  sacrificial  ceremonial. 
Their  main  object  being  to  explain  the  sacred  signi- 
ficance of  the  ritual  to  those  who  are  already  familiar 
with  the  sacrifice,  the  descriptions  they  give  of  it  are  not 
exhaustive,  much  being  stated  only  in  outline  or  omitted 
altogether.  They  are  ritual  text-books,  which,  however, 
in  no  way  aim  at  furnishing  a  complete  survey  of  the 
sacrificial  ceremonial  to  those  who  do  not  know  it 
already.  Their  contents  may  be  classified  under  the 
three  heads  of  practical  sacrificial  directions  (yidhi),  ex- 
planations (arthavdda),  exegetical,  mythological,  or  pole- 
mical, and  theological  or  philosophical  speculations  on 
the  nature  of  things  {upanishad).  Even  those  which 
have  been  preserved  form  quite  an  extensive  literature 
by  themselves ;  yet  many  others  must  have  been  lost, 
as  appears  from  the  numerous  names  of  and  quotations 
from  Brahmanas  unknown  to  us  occurring  in  those  which 
are  extant.     They  reflect  the  spirit  of  an  age  in  which 


all  intellectual  activity  is  concentrated  on  the  sacrifice, 
describing  its  ceremonies,  discussing  its  value,  speculat- 
ing on  its  origin  and  significance.  It  is  only  reasonable 
to  suppose  that  an  epoch  like  this,  which  produced 
no  other  literary  monuments,  lasted  for  a  considerable 
time.  For  though  the  Brahmanas  are  on  the  whole 
uniform  in  character,  differences  of  age  are  traceable 
in  them.  Next  to  the  prose  portions  of  the  Yajurvedasy 
the  Panchavimca  and  the  Taittiriya  are  proved  by  their 
syntax  and  vocabulary  to  be  the  most  archaic  of  the 
regular  Brahmanas.  This  conclusion  is  confirmed  by 
the  fact  that  the  latter  is,  and  the  former  is  known  to  have 
been,  accented.  A  more  recent  group  is  formed  by  the 
Jaiminlya,  the  Kaushitaki,  and  the  Aitareya  Brahmanas, 
The  first  of  these  is  probably  the  oldest,  while  the  third 
seems,  on  linguistic  grounds  at  least,  to  be  the  latest  of 
the  three.  The  Qatapatha  Brdhmana,  again,  is  posterior 
to  these.  For  it  shows  a  distinct  advance  in  matter; 
its  use  of  the  narrative  tenses  is  later  than  that  of  the 
Aitareya;  and  its  style  is  decidedly  developed  in  com- 
parison with  all  the  above-mentioned  Brahmanas.  It 
is,  indeed,  accented,  but  in  a  way  which  differs  entirely 
from  the  regular  Vedic  method.  Latest  of  all  are  the 
Gopatha  Brakmana  of  the  Atharva  and  the  short  Brah- 
manas of  the  Samaveda. 

In  language  the  Brahmanas  are  considerably  more 
limited  in  the  use  of  forms  than  the  Rigveda.  The  sub- 
junctive is,  however,  still  employed,  as  well  as  a  good 
many  of  the  old  infinitives.  Their  syntax,  indeed,  repre- 
sents the  oldest  Indian  stage  even  better  than  the  Rig- 
veda, chiefly  of  course  owing  to  the  restrictions  imposed 
by  metre  on  the  style  of  the  latter.  The  Brahmanas 
contain  some  metrical  pieces  (gdthds),  which  differ  from 


the  prose  in  which  they  are  imbedded  by  certain  pecu- 
liarities of  their  own  and  by  a  more  archaic  character. 
Allied  to  these  is  a  remarkable  poem  of  this  period,  the 
SuparnddJiydyay  an  attempt,  after  the  age  of  living  Vedic 
poetry  had  come  to  an  end,  to  compose  in  the  style  of 
the  Vedic  hymns.  It  contains  many  Vedic  forms,  and 
is  accented,  but  it  betrays  its  true  character  not  only  by 
its  many  modern  forms,  but  by  numerous  monstrosities 
due  to  unsuccessful  imitation  of  the  Vedic  language. 

A  further  development  are  the  Aranyakas  or  %i  Forest 
Treatises,"  the  later  age  of  which  is  indicated  both  by  the 
position  they  occupy  at  the  end  of  the  Brahmanas  and 
by  their  theosophical  character.  These  works  are  gene- 
rally represented  as  meant  for  the  use  of  pious  men 
who  have  retired  to  the  forest  and  no  longer  perform 
sacrifices.  According  to  the  view  of  Professor  Olden- 
berg,  they  are,  however,  rather  treatises  which,  owing  to 
the  superior  mystic  sanctity  of  their  contents,  were  in- 
tended to  be  communicated  to  the  pupil  by  his  teacher 
in  the  solitude  of  the  forest  instead  of  in  the  village. 

In  tone  and  content  the  Aranyakas  form  a  transition 
to  the  Upanishads,  which  are  either  imbedded  in  them, 
or  more  usually  form  their  concluding  portion.  The 
word  upa-ni-shad (literally  "sitting  down  beside")  having 
first  doubtless  meant  "  confidential  session,"  came  to  sig- 
nify "  secret  or  esoteric  doctrine,"  because  these  works 
were  taught  to  select  pupils  (probably  towards  the  end  of 
their  apprenticeship)  in  lectures  from  which  the  wider 
circle  was  excluded.  Being  entirely  devoted  to  theological 
and  philosophical  speculations  on  the  nature  of  things, 
the  Upanishads  mark  the  last  stage  of  development  in 
the  Brahmana  literature.  As  they  generally  come  at 
the  end  of  the  Brahmanas,  they  are  also  called  Veddnta 


("end  of  the  Veda"),  a  term  later  interpreted  to  mean 
"  final  goal  of  the  Veda."  "  Revelation "  {gruti)  was 
regarded  as  including  them,  while  the  Sutras  belonged 
to  the  sphere  of  tradition  (smriti).  The  subject-matter 
of  all  the  old  Upanishads  is  essentially  the  same — the 
doctrine  of  the  nature  of  the  Atman  or  Brahma  (the 
supreme  soul).  This  fundamental  theme  was  expounded 
in  various  ways  by  the  different  Vedic  schools,  of  which 
the  Upanishads  were  originally  the  dogmatic  text-books, 
just  as  the  Brahmanas  were  their  ritual  text-books. 

The  Aranyakas  and  Upanishads  represent  a  phase 
of  language  which  on  the  whole  closely  approaches  to 
classical  Sanskrit,  the  oldest  Upanishads  occupying  a 
position  linguistically  midway  between  the  Brahmanas 
and  the  Sutras. 

Of  the  two  Brahmanas  attached  to  the  Rigveda,  the 
more  important  is  the  Aitareya.  The  extant  text  con- 
sists of  forty  chapters  (adhydya)  divided  into  eight  books 
called  panchikds  or  "pentads,"  because  containing  five 
chapters  each.  That  its  last  ten  chapters  were  a  later 
addition  appears  likely  both  from  internal  evidence  and 
from  the  fact  that  the  closely  related  £dnkhdyana  Brdh- 
mana  contains  nothing  corresponding  to  their  subject- 
matter,  which  is  dealt  with  in  the  ^dnkhdyana  Sutra. 
The  last  three  books  would  further  appear  to  have 
been  composed  at  a  later  date  than  the  first  five,  since 
the  perfect  in  the  former  is  used  as  a  narrative  tense, 
while  in  the  latter  it  still  has  its  original  present  force, 
as  in  the  oldest  Brahmanas.  The  essential  part  of  this 
Brahmana  deals  with  the  soma  sacrifice.  It  treats  first 
(1-16)  of  the  soma  rite  called  Agnishtomay  which  lasts 
one  day,  then  (17-18)  of  that  called  Gavdmayanay  which 
lasts  360  days,  and   thirdly  (19-24)   of   the  Dvddaqdha 


or  "twelve  days'  rite."  The  next  part  (25-32),  which 
is  concerned  with  the  Agnihotra  or  "  fire  sacrifice  "  and 
other  matters,  has  the  character  of  a  supplement.  The 
last  portion  (33-40),  dealing  with  the  ceremonies  of  the 
inauguration  of  the  king  and  with  the  position  of  his 
domestic  priest,  bears  similar  signs  of  lateness. 

The  other  Brahmana  of  the  Rigveda,  which  goes 
by  the  name  of  Kaushltaki  as  well  as  £dnkhdyana,  con- 
sists of  thirty  chapters.  Its  subject-matter  is,  on  the 
whole,  the  same  as  that  of  the  original  part  of  the 
Aitareya  (i.-v.),  but  is  wider.  For  in  its  opening  chap- 
ters it  goes  through  the  setting  up  of  the  sacred  fire 
(agni-ddhdna),  the  daily  morning  and  evening  sacrifice 
{agnihotra),  the  new  and  full  moon  ritual,  and  the  four- 
monthly  sacrifices.  The  Soma  sacrifice,  however,  occu- 
pies the  chief  position  even  here.  The  more  definite 
and  methodical  treatment  of  the  ritual  in  the  Kaushltaki 
would  seem  to  indicate  that  this  Brahmana  was  com- 
posed at  a  later  date  than  the  first  five  books  of  the 
Aitareya.  Such  a  conclusion  is,  however,  not  altogether 
borne  out  by  a  comparison  of  the  linguistic  data  of  these 
two  works.  Professor  Weber  argues  from  the  occur- 
rence in  one  passage  of  Icana  and  Mahadeva  as  desig- 
nations of  the  god  who  was  later  exclusively  called  (Jiva, 
that  the  Kaushltaki  Brahmana  was  composed  at  about 
the  same  time  as  the  latest  books  of  the  White  Yajur- 
veda  and  those  parts  of  the  Atharva-veda  and  of  the 
^atapatha  Brahmana  in  which  these  appellations  of  the 
same  god  are  found. 

These  Brahmanas  contain  very  few  geographical 
data.  From  the  way,  however,  in  which  the  Aitareya 
mentions  the  Indian  tribes,  it  may  be  safely  inferred 
that   this  work   had   its   origin    in    the   country   of   the 


Kuru-Panchalas,  in  which,  as  we  have  seen,  the  Vedic 
ritual  must  have  been  developed,  and  the  hymns  of 
the  Rigveda  were  probably  collected  in  the  existing 
Samhita.  From  the  Kaushltaki  we  learn  that  the  study 
of  language  was  specially  cultivated  in  the  north  of 
India,  and  that  students  who  returned  from  there  were 
regarded  as  authorities  on  linguistic  questions. 

The  chief  human  interest  of  these  Brahmanas  lies 
in  the  numerous  myths  and  legends  which  they  con- 
tain. The  longest  and  most  remarkable  of  those  found 
in  the  Aitareya  is  the  story  of  (Junahcepa  (Dog's-Tail), 
which  forms  the  third  chapter  of  Book  VII.  The  child- 
less King  Haricchandra  vowed,  if  he  should  have  a  son, 
to  sacrifice  him  to  Varuna.  But  when  his  son  Rohita 
was  born,  he  kept  putting  off  the  fulfilment  of  his 
promise.  At  length,  when  the  boy  was  grown  up,  his 
father,  pressed  by  Varuna,  prepared  to  perform  the 
sacrifice.  Rohita,  however,  escaped  to  the  forest,  where 
he  wandered  for  six  years,  while  his  father  was  afflicted 
with  dropsy  by  Varuna.  At  last  he  fell  in  with  a  starving 
Brahman,  who  consented  to  sell  to  him  for  a  hundred 
cows  his  son  (Junahcepa  as  a  substitute.  Varuna  agreed, 
saying,  "A  Brahman  is  worth  more  than  a  Kshatriya." 
(Junahcepa  was  accordingly  bound  to  the  stake,  and 
the  sacrifice  was  about  to  proceed,  when  the  victim 
prayed  to  various  gods  in  succession.  As  he  repeated 
one  verse  after  the  other,  the  fetters  of  Varuna  began 
to  fall  off  and  the  dropsical  swelling  of  the  king  to 
diminish,  till  finally  (Junahgepa  was  released  and  Haric- 
chandra was  restored  to  health  again. 

The  style  of  the  prose  in  which  the  Aitareya  is  com- 
posed is  crude,  clumsy,  abrupt,  and  elliptical.  The  fol- 
lowing quotation  from  the  stanzas  interspersed  in  the 


story  of  (Junahcepa  may  serve  as  a  specimen  of  the 
gdthds  found  in  the  Brahmanas.  These  verses  are 
addressed  by  a  sage  named  Narada  to  King  Haric- 
chandra  on  the  importance  of  having  a  son  : — 

In  him  a  father  pays  a  debt 
And  reaches  immortality, 
When  he  beholds  the  countenance 
Of  a  son  born  to  him  alive. 

Than  all  the  joy  which  living  things 
Jn  waters  feel,  in  earth  and  fire, 
The  happiness  that  in  his  son 
A  father  feels  is  greater  far. 

At  all  times  fathers  by  a  son 

Much  darkness,  too,  have  passed  beyond: 

In  him  the  father's  self  is  born, 

He  wafts  him  to  the  other  shore. 

Food  is  marts  life  and  clothes  afford  protection, 
Gold  gives  him  beauty,  marriages  bring  cattle; 
His  wife's  a  friend,  his  daughter  causes  pity  : 
A  son  is  like  a  light  in  highest  heaven. 

To  the  Aitareya  Brdhmana  belongs  the  Aitareya 
Aranyaka.  It  consists  of  eighteen  chapters,  distributed 
unequally  among  five  books.  The  last  two  books  are 
composed  in  the  Sutra  style,  and  are  really  to  be  regarded 
as  belonging  to  the  Sutra  literature.  Four  parts  can  be 
clearly  distinguished  in  the  first  three  books.  Book  I. 
deals  with  various  liturgies  of  the  Soma  sacrifice  from  a 
purely  ritual  point  of  view.  The  first  three  chapters  of 
Book  II.,  on  the  other  hand,  are  theosophical  in  character, 
containing  speculations  about  the  world-soul  under  the 
names  of  Prana  and  Purusha.  It  is  allied  in  matter  to 
the  Upanishads,  some  of  its  more  valuable  thoughts 
recurring,    occasionally    even   word    for   word,   in .  the 

BRAHMANAS   OF   THE   SAMAVEDA         209 

Kaushltaki  Upanishad.  The  third  part  consists  of  the  re- 
maining four  sections  of  Book  II.,  which  form  the  regular 
Aitareya  Upanishad.  Finally,  Book  III.  deals  with  the 
mystic  and  allegorical  meaning  of  the  three  principal 
modes  in  which  the  Veda  is  recited  in  the  Samhitd,  Pada 
and  Krama  Pdthas,  and  of  the  various  letters  of  the 

To  the  Kaushltaki  Brahmana  is  attached  the  Kaushl- 
taki Aranyaka.  It  consists  of  fifteen  chapters.  The  first 
two  of  these  correspond  to  Books  I.  and  V.  of  the  Aitareya 
Aranyaka,  the  seventh  and  eighth  to  Book  III.,  while  the 
intervening  four  chapters  (3-6)  form  the  Kaushltaki 
Upanishad.  The  latter  is  a  long  and  very  interesting 
Upanishad.  It  seems  not  improbably  to  have  been  added 
as  an  independent  treatise  to  the  completed  Aranyaka,  as 
it  is  not  always  found  in  the  same  part  of  the  latter  work 
in  the  manuscripts. 

Brahmanas  belonging  to  two  independent  schools  of 
the  Sdmaveda  have  been  preserved,  those  of  the  Tandins 
and  of  the  Talavakaras  or  Jaiminlyas.  Though  several 
other  works  here  claim  the  title  of  ritual  text-books,  only 
three  are  in  reality  Brahmanas.  The  Brahmana  of  the 
Talavakaras,  which  for  the  most  part  is  still  unpublished, 
seems  to  consist  of  five  books.  The  first  three  (unpub- 
lished) are  mainly  concerned  with  various  parts  of  the 
sacrificial  ceremonial.  The  fourth  book,  called  the 
Upanishad  Brahmana  (probably  "  the  Brahmana  of 
mystic  meanings  "),  besides  all  kinds  of  allegories  of  the 
Aranyaka  order,  two  lists  of  teachers,  a  section  about 
the  origin  of  the  vital  airs  (prdna)  and  about  the  sdvitri 
stanza,  contains  the  brief  but  important  Kena  Upanishad. 
Book  V.,  entitled  Arsheya-Brdhmana,  is  a  short  enumera- 
tion of  the  composers  of  the  Sdmaveda. 


To  the  school  of  the  Tandins  belongs  the  Panchavimqa 
("  twenty-five  fold"),  also  called  Tandy  a  or  Praudha,  Brah- 
mana, which,  as  the  first  name  implies,  consists  of  twenty- 
five  books.  It  is  concerned  with  the  Soma  sacrifices  in 
general,  ranging  from  the  minor  offerings  to  those  which 
lasted  a  hundred  days,  or  even  several  years.  Besides 
many  legends,  it  contains  a  minute  description  of  sacri- 
fices performed  on  the  SarasvatI  and  Drishadvatl.  Though 
Kurukshetra  is  known  to  it,  other  geographical  data 
which  it  contains  point  to  the  home  of  this  Brahmana. 
having  lain  farther  east.  Noteworthy  among  its  contents 
are .  the  so-called  Vr aty  a- Stomas,  which  are  sacrifices 
meant  to  enable  Aryan  but  non-Brahmanical  Indians  to 
enter  the  Brahmanical  order.  A  point  of  interest  in  this 
Brahmana  is  the  bitter  hostility  which  it  displays  towards 
the  school  of  the  Kaushltakins.  The  Shadvirnca  Brah- 
mana, though  nominally  an  independent  work,  is  in 
reality  a  supplement  to  the  Panchavimca,  of  which,  as  its 
name  implies,  it  forms  the  twenty-sixth  book.  The  last 
of  its  six  chapters  is  called  the  Adbhuta  Brahmana,  which 
is  intended  to  obviate  the  evil  effects  of  various  extraordi- 
nary events  or  portents.  Among  such  phenomena  are 
mentioned  images  of  the  gods  when  they  laugh,  cry,  sing, 
dance,  perspire,  crack,  and  so  forth. 

The  other  Brahmana  of  this  school,  the  Chhandogya 
Brahmana,  is  only  to  a  slight  extent  a  ritual  text-book. 
It  does  not  deal  with  the  Soma  sacrifice  at  all,  but  only 
with  ceremonies  relating  to  birth  and  marriage  or  prayers 
addressed  to  divine  beings.  These  are  the  contents  of 
only  the  first  two  "lessons"  of  this  Brahmana  of  the 
Sama  theologians.  The  remaining  eight  lessons  consti- 
tute the  Chhandogya  Upanishad. 

There  are  four  other  short  works  which,  though  bear- 


ing  the  name,  are  not  really  Brahmanas.  These  are  the 
Sdmavidhdna  Brdhmatia,  a  treatise  on  the  employment  of 
chants  for  all  kinds  of  superstitious  purposes ;  the  Deva- 
tddhydya  Brahmana,  containing  some  statements  about 
the  deities  of  the  various  chants  of  the  Sdmaveda ;  the 
Vamca  Brahmana,  which  furnishes  a  genealogy  of  the 
teachers  of  the  Sdmaveda ;  and,  finally,  the  Samhito- 
panishad,  which,  like  the  third  book  of  the  Aitareya 
Aranyaka,  treats  of  the  way  in  which  the  Veda  should 
be  recited. 

The  Brahmanas  of  the  Sdmaveda  are  distinguished  by 
the  exaggerated  and  fantastic  character  of  their  mystical 
speculations.  A  prominent  feature  in  them  is  the  con- 
stant identification  of  various  kinds  of  Sdmans  or  chants 
with  all  kinds  of  terrestrial  and  celestial  objects.  At  the 
same  time  they  contain  much  matter  that  is  interesting 
from  a  historical  point  of  view. 

In  the  Black  Yajurveda  the  prose  portions  of  the 
various  Samhitas  form  the  only  Brahmanas  in  the  Katha 
and  the  Maitrayanlya  schools.  In  the  Taittiriya  school 
they  form  the  oldest  and  most  important  Brahmana. 
Here  we  have  also  the  Taittiriya  Brahmana  as  an  inde- 
pendent work  in  three  books.  This,  however,  hardly 
differs  in  character  from  the  Taittiriya  Samhitd,  being 
rather  a  continuation.  It  forms  a  supplement  concerned 
with  a  few  sacrifices  omitted  in  the  Samhita,  or  handles, 
with  greater  fulness  of  detail,  matters  already  dealt  with. 
There  is  also  a  Taittiriya  Aranyaka,  which  in  its  turn 
forms  a  supplement  to  the  Brahmana.  The  last  four  of 
its  ten  sections  constitute  the  two  Upanishads  of  this 
school,  vii.-ix.  forming  the  Taittiriya  Upanishad,  and  x. 
the  Mahd-Ndrdyana  Upanishad,  also  called  the  Ydjniki 
Upanishad.     Excepting  these  four  sections,  the  title  of 


Brahmana  or  Aranyaka  does  not  indicate  a  difference 
of  content  as  compared  with  the  Samhita,  but  is  due  to 
late  and  artificial  imitation  of  the  other  Vedas. 

The  last  three  sections  of  Book  III.  of  the  Brahmana, 
as  well  as  the  first  two  books  of  the  Aranyaka,  originally 
belonged  to  the  school  of  the  Kathas,  though  they  have 
not  been  preserved  as  part  of  the  tradition  of  that  school. 
The  different  origin  of  these  parts  is  indicated  by  the 
absence  of  the  change  of  y  and  v  to  iy  and  uv  respectively, 
which  otherwise  prevails  in  the  Taittirlya  Brahmana  and 
Aranyaka.  In  one  of  these  Kathaka  sections  (Taitt.  Br. 
iii.  n),  by  way  of  illustrating  the  significance  of  the  par- 
ticular fire  called  ndchiketa,  the  story  is  told  of  a  boy, 
Nachiketas,  who,  on  visiting  the  House  of  Death,  was 
granted  the  fulfilment  of  three  wishes  by  the  god  of  the 
dead.     On  this  story  is  based  the  Kathaka  Upanishad. 

Though  the  Maitrayani  Samhita  has  no  independent 
Brahmana,  its  fourth  book,  as  consisting  of  explanations 
and  supplements  to  the  first  three,  is  a  kind  of  special 
Brahmana.  Connected  with  this  Samhita,  and  in  the 
manuscripts  sometimes  forming  its  second  or  its  fifth 
book,  is  the  Maitrayana  (also  called  Maitrayaniya  and 
Maitri)  Upanishad. 

The  ritual  explanation  of  the  White  Yajurveda  is  to 
be  found  in  extraordinary  fulness  in  the  ^atapatha  Brah- 
mana, the  u  Brahmana  of  the  Hundred  Paths,"  so  called 
because  it  consists  of  one  hundred  lectures  (adhydyd). 
This  work  is,  next  to  the  Rigveda,  the  most  important 
production  in  the  whole  range  of  Vedic  literature.  Its 
text  has  come  down  in  two  recensions,  those  of  the 
Madhyamdina  school,  edited  by  Professor  Weber,  and  of 
the  Kanva  school,  which  is  in  process  of  being  edited  by 
Professor  Eggeling.    The  Madhyamdina  recension  con- 


sists  of  fourteen  books,  while  the  Kanva  has  seventeen. 
The  first  nine  of  the  former,  corresponding  to  the  original 
eighteen  books  of  the  Vdjasaneyi  Samhitd,  doubtless  form 
the  oldest  part.  The  fact  that  Book  XII.  is  called 
madhyamay  or  "middle  one,"  shows  that  the  last  five 
books  (or  possibly  only  X.-XIII.)  were  at  one  time  re- 
garded as  a  separate  part  of  the  Brahmana.  Book  X. 
treats  of  the  mystery  of  the  fire-altar  {agnirahasya),  XI. 
is  a  sort  of  recapitulation  of  the  preceding  ritual,  while 
XII.  and  XIII.  deal  with  various  supplementary  matters. 
The  last  book  forms  the  Aranyaka,  the  six  concluding 
chapters  of  which  are  the  Brihaddranyaka  Upanishad. 

Books  VI. -X.  of  the  ^atapatha  Brahmana  occupy  a 
peculiar  position.  Treating  of  the  construction  of  the 
fire-altar,  they  recognise  the  teaching  of  Candilya  as  their 
highest  authority,  Yajnavalkya  not  even  being  mentioned; 
while  the  peoples  who  are  named,  the  Gandharas,  Salvas, 
Kekayas,  belong  to  the  north-west.  In  the  other  books 
Yajnavalkya  is  the  highest  authority,  while  hardly  any 
but  Eastern  peoples,  or  those  of  the  middle  of  Hindustan, 
the  Kuru-Panchalas,  Kosalas,  Videhas,  Srinjayas,  are 
named.  That  the  original  authorship  of  the  five  Candilya 
books  was  different  from  that  of  the  others  is  indicated 
by  a  number  of  linguistic  differences,  which  the  hand  of 
a  later  editor  failed  to  remove.  Thus  the  use  of  the  per- 
fect as  a  narrative  tense  is  unknown  to  the  (Jandilya 
books  (as  well  as  to  XIII.). 

The  geographical  data  of  the  QatapatJia  Brahmana 
point  to  the  land  of  the  Kuru-Panchalas  being  still  the 
centre  of  Brahmanical  culture.  Janamejaya  is  here  cele- 
brated as  a  king  of  the  Kurus,  and  the  most  renowned 
Brahmanical  teacher  of  the  age,  Aruni,  is  expressly  stated 
to  have  been  a  Panchala.     Nevertheless,  it  is  clear  that 


the  Brahmanical  system  had  by  this  time  spread  to  the 
countries  to  the  east  of  Madhyadeca,  to  Kosala,  with  its 
capital,  Ayodhya(Oudh),  and  Videha  (Tirhut  or  Northern 
Behar),  with  its  capital,  Mithila.  The  court  of  King 
Janaka  of  Videha  was  thronged  with  Brahmans  from 
the  Kuru-Panchala  country.  The  tournaments  of  argu- 
ment which  were  here  held  form  a  prominent  feature  in 
the  later  books  of  the  ^atapatha  Brdhmana,  The  hero  of 
these  is  Yajnavalkya,  who,  himself  a  pupil  of  Aruni,  is 
regarded  as  the  chief  spiritual  authority  in  the  Brahmana 
(excepting  Books  VI.-X.).  Certain  passages  of  the  Brah- 
mana render  it  highly  probable  that  Yajnavalkya  was  a 
native  of  Videha.  The  fact  that  its  leading  authority, 
who  thus  appears  to  have  belonged  to  this  Eastern 
country,  is  represented  as  vanquishing  the  most  distin- 
guished teachers  of  the  West  in  argument,  points  to  the 
redaction  of  the  White  Yajurveda  having  taken  place  in 
this  eastern  region. 

The  ^atapatha  Brdhmana  contains  reminiscences  of 
the  days  when  the  country  of  Videha  was  not  as  yet 
Brahmanised.  Thus  Book  I.  relates  a  legend  in  which 
three  stages  in  the  eastward  migration  of  the  Aryans  can 
be  clearly  distinguished.  Mathava,  the  king  of  Videgha 
(the  'older  form  of  Videha),  whose  family  priest  was 
Gotama  Rahugana,  was  at  one  time  on  the  Sarasvati. 
Agni  Vaicvanara  (here  typical  of  Brahmanical  culture) 
thence  went  burning  along  this  earth  towards  the  east, 
followed  by  Mathava  and  his  priest,  till  he  came  to  the 
river  Sadanlra  (probably  the  modern  Gandak,  a  tributary 
running  into  the  Ganges  near  Patna),  which  flows  from 
the  northern  mountain,  and  which  he  did  not  burn  over. 
This  river  Brahmans  did  not  cross  in  former  times, 
thinking  "it   has  not  been  burnt  over  by  Agni   Vaicva- 


nara.*'  At  that  time  the  land  to  the  eastward  was  very 
uncultivated  and  marshy,  but  now  many  Brahmans  are 
there,  and  it  is  highly  cultivated,  for  the  Brahmans  have 
caused  Agni  to  taste  it  through  sacrifices.  Mathava  the 
Videgha  then  said  to  Agni,  "  Where  am  I  to  abide  ? " 
"To  the  east  of  this  river  be  thy  abode,"  he  replied. 
Even  now,  the  writer  adds,  this  river  forms  the  boundary 
between  the  Kosalas  (Oudh)  and  the  Videhas  (Tirhut). 

The  Vajasaneyi  school  of  the  White  Yajurveda  evi- 
dently felt  a  sense  of  the  superiority  of  their  sacrificial 
lore,  which  grew  up  in  these  eastern  countries.  Blame 
is  frequently  expressed  in  the  Qatapatha  Brahmana  of 
the  Adhvaryu  priests  of  the  Charaka  school.  The  latter 
is  meant  as  a  comprehensive  term  embracing  the  three 
older  schools  of  the  Black  Yajurveda,  the  Kathas,  the 
Kapishthalas,  and  the  Maitrayanlyas. 

As  Buddhism  first  obtained  a  firm  footing  in  Kosala 
and  Videha,  it  is  interesting  to  inquire  in  what  relation 
the  ^atapatha  Brahmaiia  stands  to  the  beginnings  of  that 
doctrine.  In  this  connection  it  is  to  be  noted  that  the 
words  Arhaty  Qramanay  and  Pratibuddha  occur  here  for 
the  first  time,  but  as  yet  without  the  technical  sense  which 
they  have  in  Buddhistic  literature.  Again,  in  the  lists  of 
teachers  given  in  the  Brahmana  mention  is  made  with 
special  frequency  of  the  Gautamas,  a  family  name  used 
by  the  (Jakyas  of  Kapilavastu,  among  whom  Buddha  was 
born.  Certain  allusions  are  also  suggestive  of  the  begin- 
nings of  the  Sankhya  doctrine ;  for  mention  is  several 
times  made  of  a  teacher  called  Asuri,  and  according  to 
tradition  Asuri  is  the  name  of  a  leading  authority  for  the 
Sankhya  system.  If  we  inquire  as  to  how  far  the  legends 
of  our  Brahmana  contain  the  germs  of  the  later  epic 
tales,  we  find  that  there  is  indeed  some  slight  connection* 


Janamejaya,  the  celebrated  king  of  the  Kurus  in  the 
Mahdbhdrata,  is  mentioned  here  for  the  first  time.  The 
Pandus,  however,  who  proved  victorious  in  the  epic 
war,  are  not  to  be  met  with  in  this  any  more  than  in  the 
other  Brahmanas ;  and  Arjuna,  the  name  of  their  chief, 
is  still  an  appellation  of  Indra.  But  as  the  epic  Arjuna  is 
a  son  of  Indra,  his  origin  is  doubtless  to  be  traced  to  this 
epithet  of  Indra.  Janaka,  the  famous  king  of  Videha,  is 
in  all  probability  identical  with  the  father  of  Slta,  the 
heroine  of  the  Rdmdyana. 

Of  two  legends  which  furnished  the  classical  poet 
Kalidasa  with  the  plots  of  two  of  his  most  famous 
dramas,  one  is  told  in  detail,  and  the  other  is  at  least 
alluded  to.  The'  story  of  the  love  and  separation  of 
Pururavas  and  UrvacI,  already  dimly  shadowed  forth  in 
a  hymn  of  the  Rigveda,  is  here  related  with  much  more 
fulness ;  while  Bharata,  son  of  Duhshanta  and  of  the 
nymph  Cakuntala,  also  appears  on  the  scene  in  this 

A  most  interesting  legend  which  reappears  in  the 
Mahdbhdratay  that  of  the  Deluge,  is  here  told  for  the 
first  time  in  Indian  literature,  though  it  seems  to  be 
alluded  to  in  the  Atharva-veda,  while  it  is  known  even 
to  the  Avesta.  This  myth  is  generally  regarded  as 
derived  from  a  Semitic  source.  It  tells  how  Manu 
once  came  into  possession  of  a  small  fish,  which  asked 
him  to  rear  it,  and  promised  to  save  him  from  the 
coming  flood.  Having  built  a  ship  in  accordance  with 
the  fish's  advice,  he  entered  it  when  the  deluge  arose, 
and  was  finally  guided  to  the  Northern  Mountain  by 
the  fish,  to  whose  horn  he  had  tied  his  ship.  Manu  sub- 
sequently became  the  progenitor  of  mankind  through 
his  daughter. 

brAhmana  OF  THE  ATHARVA-VEDA  217 

vThe  (^atapatha  Brahmana  is  thus  a  mine  of  important 
data  and  noteworthy  narratives.  Internal  evidence  shows 
it  to  belong  to  a  late  period  of  the  Brahmana  age.  Its 
style,  as  compared  with  the  earlier  works  of  the  same 
class,  displays  some  progress  towards  facility  and  clear- 
ness. Its  treatment  of  the  sacrificial  ceremonial,  which 
is  essentially  the  same  in  the  Brahmana  portions  of 
the  Black  Yajurveda,  is  throughout  more  lucid  and 
systematic.  On  the  theosophic  side,  too,  we  find  the 
idea  of  the  unity  in  the  universe  more  fully  developed 
than  in  any  other  Brahmana  work,  while  its  Upanishad 
is  the  finest  product  of  Vedic  philosophy. 

To  the  Atharva-veda  is  attached  the  Gopatlia  BrdJi- 
mana,  though  it  has  no  particular  connection  with  that 
Samhita.  This  Brahmana  consists  of  two  books,  the 
first  containing  -five  chapters,  the  second  six.  Both  parts 
are  very  late,  for  they  were  composed  after  the  Vaitdna 
Sutra  and  practically  without  any  Atharvan  tradition. 
The  matter  of  the  former  half,  while  not  corresponding 
or  following  the  order  of  the  sacrifice  in  any  ritual 
text,  is  to  a  considerable  extent  original,  the  rest  being 
borrowed  from  Books  XI.  and  XII.  of  the  Qatapatha 
Brahmana,  besides  a  few  passages  from  the  Aitareya. 
The  main  motive  of  this  portion  is  the  glorification  of 
the  Atharva-veda  and  of  the  fourth  or  brahman  priest. 
The  mention  of  the  god  Civa  points  to  its  belonging  to 
the  post-Vedic  rather  than  to  the  Brahmana  period.  Its 
presupposing  the  Atharva-veda  in  twenty  books,  and  con- 
taining grammatical  matters  of  a  very  advanced  type,  are 
other  signs  of  lateness.  The  latter  half  bears  more  the 
stamp  of  a  regular  Brahmana,  being  a  fairly  connected 
account  of  the  ritual  in  the  sacrificial  order  of  the 
Vaitdna  Qrauta  Sutra;   but  it  is  for  the   most   part   a 


compilation.  The  ordinary  historical  relation  of  Brah- 
mana  and  Sutra  is  here  reversed,  the  second  book  of  the 
Gopatha  Brdhmana  being  based  on  the  Vaitdna  Sutra, 
which  stands  to  it  practically  in  the  relation  of  a  Samhita. 
About  two-thirds  of  its  matter  have  already  been  shown 
to  be  taken  from  older  texts.  The  Aitareya  and  Kaushi- 
taki  Brdhmanas  have  been  chiefly  exploited,  and  to  a 
less  extent  the  Maitrdyanl  and  Taittirlya  Samhitds.  A 
few  passages  are  derived  from  the  Qatapatha,  and  even 
the  Panchavimca  Brdhmana. 

Though  the  Upanishads  generally  form  a  part  of  the 
Brahmanas,  being  a  continuation  of  their  speculative  side 
{jndna-kdndd),  they  really  represent  a  new  religion, 
which  is  in  virtual  opposition  to  the  ritual  or  practical 
side  (karma-kdnda).  Their  aim  is  no  longer  the  obtain- 
ment  of  earthly  happiness  and  afterwards  bliss  in  the 
abode  of  Yama  by  sacrificing  correctly  to  the  gods,  but 
release  from  mundane  existence  by  the  absorptionof  the 
individual  soul  in  the  world-soul  through  correct  know- 
ledge. Here,  therefore,  the  sacrificial  ceremonial  JKJS 
become  useless  and  speculative  kno wledgejdl-important. 

The  essential  theme  of  the  Upanishads  is  the  nature 
of  the  world-soul.  Their  conception  of  it  represents 
the  final  stage  in  the  development  from  the  world-man, 
Purusha,  of  the  Rigveda  to  the  world-soul,  Atman  ;  from 
the  personal  creator,  Prajapati,  to  the  impersonal  source 
of  all  being,  Brahma.  Atman  in  the  Rigveda  means  no 
more  than  U  breath  "  ;  wind,  for  instance,  being  spoken 
of  as  the  atman  of  Varuna.  In  the  Brahmanas  it  came 
to  mean  "soul"  or  "self."  In  one  of  their  speculations 
the  prdnas  or  "  vital  airs,"  which  are  supposed  to  be 
based  on  the  atman,  are  identified  with  the  gods,  and 
so  an  atman  comes   to   be  attributed   to  the   universe. 


In  one  of  the  later  books  of  the  £atapatha  Brahmana 
(X.  vi.  3)  this  dtmatiy  which  has  already  arrived  at 
a  high  degree  of  abstraction,  is  said  to  "pervade  this 
universe."  Brahma  (neuter)  in  the  Rigveda  signified 
nothing  more  than  "  prayer "  or  "  devotion."  But 
even  in  the  oldest  Brahmanas  it  has  come  to  have  the 
sense  of  "universal  holiness/'  as  manifested  in  prayer, 
priest,  and  sacrifice.  In  the  Upanishads  it  is  the  holy 
principle  which  animates  nature.  Having  a  long  sub- 
sequent history,  this  word  is  a  very  epitome  of  the 
evolution  of  religious  thought  in  India.  These  two 
conceptions,  Atman  and  Brahma,  are  commonly  treated 
as  synonymous  in  the  Upanishads.  But,  strictly  speaking, 
Brahma,  the  older  term,  represents  the  cosmical  prin- 
ciple which  pervades  the  universe,  Atman  the  psychi- 
cal principle  manifested  in  man  ;  and  the  latter,  as  the 
known,  is  used  to  explain  the  former  as  the-  unknown. 
The  Atman  under  the  name  of  the  Eternal  {aksha- 
ram)  is  thus  described  in  the  Brihadaranyaka  Upani- 
shad  (III.  viii.  8,  11)  : — 

"  It  is  not  largey  and  not  minute ;  not  short,  not  long ; 
without  blood,  without  fat ;  without  shadow,  without  dark- 
ness ;  without  wind,  without  ether ;  not  adhesive,  not  tan- 
gible ;  without  smelly  without  taste;  without  eyesy  earsy 
voice,  or  mind;  without  heaty  breathy  or  mouth;  without 
personal  or  family  name  ;  unagingy  undyingy  without  fear ', 
immortal,  dustless,  not  uncovered  or  covered ;  with  nothing 
before}  nothing  behind,  nothing  within.  It  consumes  no  one 
and  is  consumed  by  no  one.  It  is  the  unseen  seery  the  un- 
heard hearer y  the  unthought  thinker ■,  the  unknown  knower. 
TJiere  is  no  other  seer,  no  other  hearer,  no  other  thinkery 
no  other  knower.  That  is  the  Eternal  in  which  space  (akaca) 
is  woven  and  which  is  interwoven  with  it." 


Here,  for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  human 
thought,  we  find  the  Absolute  grasped  and  proclaimed. 

A  poetical  account  of  the  nature  of  the  Atman  is 
given    by    the    Kathaka     Upanishad    in    the    following 

stanzas : — 

That  whence  the  suris  orb  rises  up, 
And  that  in  which  it  sinks  again  : 
In  it  the  gods  are  all  contained. 
Beyond  it  none  can  ever  pass  (iv.  9). 

Its  form  can  never  be  to  sight  apparent, 

Not  any  one  may  with  his  eye  behold  it : 

By  heart  and  mind  and  soul  alone  they  grasp  it, 

And  those  who  know  it  thus  become  immortal  (vi.  9). 

Since  not  by  speech  and  not  by  thought, 
Not  by  the  eye  can  it  be  reached  : 
How  else  may  it  be  understood 
But  only  when  one  says  "it  is"  f  (vi.  12). 

The  place  of  the  more  personal  Prajapati  is  taken 
in  the  Upanishads  by  the  Atman  as  a  creative  power. 
Thus  the  Brihadaranyaka  (I.  iv.)  relates  that  in  the 
beginning  the  Atman  or  the  Brahma  was  this  universe. 
It  was  afraid  in  its  loneliness  and  felt  no  pleasure. 
Desiring  a  second  being,  it  became  man  and  woman, 
whence  the  human  race  was  produced.  It  then  pro- 
ceeded to  produce  male  and  female  animals  in  a 
similar  way  ;  finally  creating  water,  lire,  the  gods,  and 
so  forth.  The  author  then  proceeds  in  a  more  exalted 
strain  : — 

u  It  {the  At  mart)  is  here  all-pervading  dozvn  to  the  tips 
of  the  nails.  One  does  not  see  it  any  more  than  a  razor 
hidden  in  its  case  or  fire  in  its  receptacle.  For  it  does  not 
appear  as  a  whole.  When  it  breathes,  it  is  called  breath  ; 
when  it  speaks,  voice ;  when  it  hears,  ear ;  when  it  thinks, 
mind.      These  are  merely  the  names  of  its  activities.      He 



who  worships  the  one  or  the  other  of  these,  has  not  {correct) 
knowledge.  .  .  .  One  should  worship  it  as  the  Self.  For  in 
it  all  these  {breath,  etc.)  become  one" 

In  one  of  the  later  Upanishads,  the  Qvetacvatara 
(iv.  10),  the  notion,  so  prominent  in  the  later  Vedanta 
system,  that  the  material  world  is  an  illusion  {mdyd),  is 
first  met  -with.  The  world  is  here  explained  as  an  illusion 
produced  by  Brahma  as  a  conjuror  {mdyin).  This  notion 
is,  however,  inherent  even  in  the  oldest  Upanishads. 
It  is  virtually  identical  with  the  teaching  of  Plato  that 
the  things  of  experience  are  only  the  shadow  of  the  real 
things,  and  with  the  teaching  of  Kant,  that  they  are 
only  phenomena  of  the  thing  in  itself. 

The  great  fundamental  doctrine  of  the  Upanishads  is 
the  identity  of  the  individual  atman  with  the  world  Atman. 
It  is  most  forcibly  expressed  in  a  frequently  repeated 
sentence  of  the  Chhandogya  Upanishad  (vi.  8-16)  :  "  This 
whole  world  consists  of  it :  that  is  the  Real,  that  is  the  Soul, 
that  art  thou,  O  Qvetaketu"  In  that  famous  formula, 
"  That  art  thou  "  {tat  tvam  asi),  all  the  teachings  of  the 
Upanishads  are  summed  up.  The  Brihaddranyaka  (I. 
iv.  6)  expresses  the  same  doctrine  thus  :  "  Whoever  knows 
this,  *  I am  brahma'  (aham  brahma  asmi),  becomes  the  All. 
Even  the  gods  are  not  able  to  prevent  him  from  becoming  it. 
For  he  becomes  their  Self  (atman)."  k 

This  identity  was  already  recognised  in  the  £atapatha 
Brahmana  (X.  vi.  3)  :  "  Even  as  the  smallest  granule  of 
millet,  so  is  this  golden  Purusha  in  the  heart.  .  .  .  That  self 
of  the  spirit  is  my  self:  on  passing  from  hence  I  shall  obtain 
that  Self." 

v  We  find  everywhere  in  these  treatises  a  restless  striv- 
ing to  grasp  the  true  nature  of  the  pantheistic  Self,  now 
through   one   metaphor,  now  through    another.      Thus 


(Brih.  Up.  II.  iv.)  the  wise  Yajnavalkya,  about  to  renounce 
the  world  and  retire  to  the  forest,  replies  to  the  question 
of  his  wife,  Maitreyl,  with  the  words  :  "  As  a  lump  of  salt 
thrown  into  the  water  would  dissolve  and  could  not  be  taken 
out  again,  while  the  water,  wherever  tasted,  would  be  salt,  so 
is  this  great  being  endless,  unlimited,  simply  co7npacted  of 
cognition.  A  rising  out  of  these  elements,  it  disappears  again 
in  them.  After  death  there  is  no  consciousness  ;  "  for,  as  he 
further  explains,  when  the  duality  on  which  conscious- 
ness is  based  disappears,  consciousness  must  necessarily 

In  another  passage  of  the  same  Upanishad  (II.  i.  20) 
we  read  :  "Just  as  the  spider  goes  out  of  itself  by  means  of 
its  thread,  as  tiny  sparks  leap  out  of  the  fire,  so  from  the 
Atman  issue  all  vital  airs,  all  worlds,  all  gods,  all  beings." 

Here,  again,  is  a  stanza  from  the  Mundaka  (III.  ii.  8)  : — 

As  rivers  flow  and  disappear  at  last 
In  ocean 's  waters,  name  and  form  renouncing, 
So,  too,  the  sage,  released  from  name  and  form, 
Is  merged  in  the  divine  and  highest  spirit. 

In  a  passage  of  the  Brihaddranyaka  (III.  vii.)  Yajna- 
valkya describes  the  Atman  as  the  "  inner  guide  "  {antar- 
ydmin)  :  "  Who  is  in  all  beings,  different  from  all  beings,  who 
guides  all  beings  within,  that  is  thy  Self,  the  inward  guide, 

The  same  Upanishad  contains  an  interesting  conversa- 
tion, in  which  King  Ajatacatru  of  Kagi  (Benares)  instructs 
the  Brahman,  Balaki  Gargya,  that  Brahma  is  not  the 
spirit  (purusha)  which  is  in  sun,  moon,  wind,  and  other 
natural  phenomena,  or  even  in  the  (waking)  soul  {atman), 
but  is  either  the  dreaming  soul,  which  is  creative,  assum- 
ing any  form  at  pleasure,  or,  in  the  highest  stage,  the 


soul  in  dreamless  sleep,  for  here  all  phenomena  have  dis- 
appeared. This  is  the  first  and  the  last  condition  of 
Brahma,  in  which  no  world  exists,  all  material  existence 
being  only  the  phantasms  of  the  dreaming  world-soul. 

Of  somewhat  similar  purport  is  a  passage  of  the 
Chhdndogya  (viii.  7-12),  where  Prajapati  is  represented  as 
teaching  the  nature  of  the  Atman  in  three  stages.  The 
soul  in  the  body  as  reflected  in  a  mirror  or  water  is  first 
identified  with  Brahma,  then  the  dreaming  soul,  and, 
lastly,  the  soul  in  dreamless  sleep. 

How  generally  accepted  the  pantheistic  theory  must 
have  become  by  the  time  the  disputations  at  the  court  of 
King  Janaka  took  place,  is  indicated  by  the  form  in  which 
questions  are  put.  Thus  two  different  sages  in  the 
Brihadaranyaka  (iii.  4,  5)  successively  ask  Yajnavalkya 
in  the  same  words :  "  Explain  to  us  the  Brahma  which  is 
manifest  and  not  hidden y  the  Atman  that  dwells  in  every- 

With  the  doctrine  that  true  knowledge  led  to  supreme 
bliss  by  the  absorption  of  the  individual  soul  in  Brahma 
went  hand  in  hand  the  theory  of  transmigration  (sam- 
sard).  That  theory  is  developed  in  the  oldest  tlpani- 
shads ;  it  must  have  been  firmly  established  by  the 
time  Buddhism  arose,  for  Buddha  accepted  it  without 
question.  Its  earliest  form  is  found  in  the  £atapatha 
Brahmana}  where  the  notion  of  being  born  again  after 
death  and  dying  repeatedly  is  coupled  with  that  of  retri- 
bution. Thus  it  is  here  said  that  those  who  have  correct 
knowledge  and  perform  a  certain  sacrifice  are  born  again 
*  after  death  for  immortality,  while  those  who  have  not 
such  knowledge  and  do  not  perform  this  sacrifice  are 
reborn  again  and  again,  becoming  the  prey  of  Death. 
The  notion  here  expressed  does  not  go  beyond  repeated 


births  and  deaths  in  the  next  world.  It  is  transformed 
to  the  doctrine  of  transmigration  in  the  Upanishads  by 
supposing  rebirth  to  take  place  in  this  world.  In  the 
Brihaddranyaka  we  further  meet  with  the  beginnings  of  the 
doctrine  of  karma,  or  u  action,"  which  regulates  the  new 
birth,  and  makes  it  depend  on  a  man's  own  deeds.  When 
the  body  returns  to  the  elements,  nothing  of  the  indi- 
viduality is  here  said  to  remain  but  the  karma,  according 
to  which  a  man  becomes  good  or  bad.  This  is,  perhaps, 
the  germ  of  the  Buddhistic  doctrine,  which,  though  deny- 
ing the  existence  of  soul  altogether,  allows  karma  to 
continue  after  death  and  to  determine  the  next  birth. 

The  most  important  and  detailed  account  of  the 
theory  of  transmigration  which  we  possess  from  Vedic 
times  is  supplied  by  the  Chhdndogya  Upanishad.  The 
forest  ascetic  possessed  of  knowledge  and  faith,  it  is  here 
said,  after  death  enters  the  devaydna,  the  "path  of  the 
gods,"  which  leads  to  absorption  in  Brahma,  while  the 
householder  who  has  performed  sacrifice  and  good  works 
goes  by  the  pitriydna  or  u  path  of  the  Fathers "  to  the 
moon,  where  he  remains  till  the  consequences  of  his  actions 
are  exhausted.  He  then  returns  to  earth,  being  first  born 
again  as  a  plant  and  afterwards  as  a  man  of  one  of  the 
three  highest  castes.  Here  we  have  a  double  retribution, 
first  in  the  next  world,  then  by  transmigration  in  this. 
The  former  is  a  survival  of  the  old  Vedic  belief  about  the 
future  life.  The  wicked  are  born  again  as  outcasts 
(ckandalas),  dogs  or  swine. 

The  account  of  the  Brihaddranyaka  (VI.  ii.  15-16)  is 
similar.     Those  who  have  true  knowledge  and  faith  pass  « 
through  the  world  of  the  gods  and  the  sun  to  the  world 
of  Brahma,  whence  there  is  no  return.    Those  who  prac- 
tise sacrifice  and  good  works  pass  through  the  world  of 


the  Fathers  to  the  moon,  whence  they  return  to  earth, 
being  born  again  as  men.  Others  become  birds,  beasts, 
and  reptiles. 

The  view  of  the  Kaushitaki  Upanishad  (i.  2-3)  is 
somewhat  different.  Here  all  who  die  go  to  the  moon, 
whence  some  go  by  the  "path  of  the  Fathers"  to 
Brahma,  while  others  return  to  various  forms  of  earthly 
existence,  ranging  from  man  to  worm,  according  to  the 
quality  of  their  works  and  the  degree  of  their  knowledge. 

The  Kdthaka,  one  of  the  most  remarkable  and 
beautiful  of  the  Upanishads,  treats  the  question  of  life 
after  death  in  the  form  of  a  legend.  Nachiketas,  a  young 
Brahman,  visits  the  realm  of  Yama,  who  offers  him  the 
choice  of  three  boons.  For  the  third  he  chooses  the 
answer  to  the  question,  whether  man  exists  after  death 
or  no.  Death  replies  :  "  Even  the  gods  have  doubted 
about  this  ;  it  is  a  subtle  point ;  choose  another  boon." 
After  vain  efforts  to  evade  the  question  by  offering 
Nachiketas  earthly  power  and  riches,  Yama  at  last  yields 
to  his  persistence  and  reveals  the  secret.  Life  and  death, 
he  explains,  are  only  different  phases  of  development. 
True  knowledge,  which  consists  in  recognising  the 
identity  of  the  individual  soul  with  the  world  soul,  raises 
its  possessor  beyond  the  reach  of  death  : — 

When  every  passion  vanishes 

That  nestles  in  the  human  heart, 

Then  man  gains  immortality, 

Then  Brah?na  is  obtained  by  him  (vi.  14). 

The  story  of  the  temptation  of  Nachiketas  to  choose 
the  goods  of  this  world  in  preference  to  the  highest 
knowledge  is  probably  the  prototype  of  the  legend  of 
the  temptation  of  Buddha  by  Mara  or  Death.  Both  by 
resisting  the  temptation  obtain  enlightenment. 


It  must  not  of  course  be  supposed  that  the  Upani- 
shads, either  as  a  whole  or  individually,  offer  a  complete 
and  consistent  conception  of  the  world  logically  de- 
veloped. They  are  rather  a  mixture  of  half-poetical, 
half-philosophical  fancies,  of  dialogues  and  disputations 
dealing  tentatively  with  metaphysical  questions.  Their 
speculations  were  only  later  reduced  to  a  system  in  the 
Vedanta  philosophy.  The  earliest  of  them  can  hardly 
be  dated  later  than  about  600  B.C.,  since  some  important 
doctrines  first  met  with  in  them  are  presupposed  by 
Buddhism.  They  may  be  divided  chronologically,  on 
internal  evidence,  into  four  classes.  The  oldest  group, 
consisting,  in  chronological  order,  of  the  Brihaddranyaka, 
Chhdndogya,  Taittirlyay  Aitareya,  Kaushitaki,  is  written 
in  prose  which  still  suffers  from  the  awkwardness  of 
the  Brahmana  style.  A  transition  is  formed  by  the 
Kena,  which  is  partly  in  verse  and  partly  in  prose,  to 
a  decidedly  later  class,  the  Kdthaka,  led,  (^vetdevatara, 
Mundaka,  Mahdndrdyanay  which  are  metrical,  and  in 
which  the  Upanishad  doctrine  is  no  longer  developing, 
but  has  become  fixed.  These  are  more  attractive  from 
the  literary  point  of  view.  Even  those  of  the  older  class 
acquire  a  peculiar  charm  from  their  liveliness,  enthu- 
siasm, and  freedom  from  pedantry,  while  their  language 
often  rises  to  the  level  of  eloquence.  The  third  class, 
comprising  the  Pracna}  Maitrdyanlya,  and  Mdiidukya, 
reverts  to  the  use  of  prose,  which  is,  however,  of  a 
much  less  archaic  type  than  that  of  the  first  class,  and 
approaches  that  of  classical  Sanskrit  writers.  The  fourth 
class  consists  of  the  later  Atharvan  Upanishads,  some 
of  which  are  composed  in  prose,  others  in  verse. 

The  Aitareyay  one  of  the  shortest  of  the  Upanishads 
(extending  to  only  about  four  octavo  pages),  consists  of 


three  chapters.  The  first  represents  the  world  as  a 
creation  of  the  Atman  (also  called  Brahma),  and  man  as 
its  highest  manifestation.  It  is  based  on  the  Purusha 
hymn  of  the  Rigveda,  but  the  primeval  man  is  in  the 
Upanishad  described  as  having  been  produced  by  the 
Atman  from  the  waters  which  it  created.  The  Atman 
is  here  said  to  occupy  three  abodes  in  man,  the  senses, 
mind,  and  heart,  to  which  respectively  correspond  the 
three  conditions  of  waking,  dreaming,  and  deep  sleep. 
The  second  chapter  treats  of  the  threefold  birth  of  the 
Atman.  The  end  of  transmigration  is  salvation,  which 
is  represented  as  an  immortal  existence  in  heaven.  The 
last  chapter  dealing  with  the  nature  of  the  Atman  states 
that  "  consciousness  (prajna)  is  Brahma." 

The  Kaushitaki  Upanishad  is  a  treatise  of  considerable 
length  divided  into  four  chapters.  The  first  deals  with 
the  two  paths  traversed  by  souls  after  death  in  connec- 
tion with  transmigration  ;  the  second  with  Prana  or  life 
as  a  symbol  of  the  Atman.  The  last  two,  while  discussing 
the  doctrine  of  Brahma,  contain  a  disquisition  about  the 
dependence  of  the  objects  of  sense  on  the  organs  of 
sense,  and  of  the  latter  on  unconscious  life  {prana)  and 
conscious  life  {prajnatma).  Those  who  aim  at  redeeming 
knowledge  are  therefore  admonished  not  to  seek  after 
objects  or  subjective  faculties,  but  only  the  subject  of 
cognition  and  action,  which  is  described  with  much 
power  as  the  highest  god,  and  at  the  same  time  as  the 
Atman  within  us. 

The  Upanishads  of  the  Samaveda  start  from  the 
saman  or  chant,  just  as  those  of  the  Rigveda  from  the 
uktha  or  hymn  recited  by  the  Hotri  priest,  in  order,  by 
interpreting  it  allegorically,  to  arrive  at  a  knowledge  of 
the  Atman  or  Brahma.    The  fact  that  the  Upanishads 


have  the  same  basis,  which  is,  moreover,  largely  treated 
in  a  similar  manner,  leads  to  the  conclusion  that  the 
various  Vedic  schools  found  a  common  body  of  oral 
tradition  which  they  shaped  into  dogmatic  texts-books 
or  Upanishads  in  their  own  way. 

Thus  the  Chhdndogyay  which  is  equal  in  importance, 
and  only  slightly  inferior  in  extent,  to  the  Brihaddranyaka, 
bears  clear  traces,  like  the  latter,  of  being  made  up  of 
collections  of  floating  materials.  Each  of  its  eight  chap- 
ters forms  an  independent  whole,  followed  by  supple- 
mentary pieces  often  but  slightly  connected  with  the 
main  subject-matter. 

The  first  two  chapters  consist  of  mystical  interpreta- 
tions of  the  sdman  and  its  chief  part,  called  Udgltha 
("loud  song").  A  supplement  to  the  second  chapter 
treats,  among  other  subjects,  of  the  or.igin  of  the  syllable 
omy  and  of  the  three  stages  of  religious  life,  those  of  the 
Brahman  pupil,  the  householder,  and  the  ascetic  (to 
which  later  the  religious  mendicant  was  added  as  a 
fourth).  The  third  chapter  in  the  main  deals  with 
Brahma  as  the  sun  of  the  universe,  the  natural  sun 
being  its  manifestation.  The  infinite  Brahma  is  further 
described  as  dwelling,  whole  and  undivided,  in  the  heart 
of  man.  The  way  in  which  Brahma  is  to  be  attained 
is  then  described,  and  the  great  fundamental  dogma 
of  the  identity  of  Brahma  with  the  Atman  (or,  as  we 
might  say,  of  God  and  Soul)  is  declared.  The  chapter 
concludes  with  a  myth  which  forms  a  connecting  link 
between  the  cosmogonic  conceptions  of  the  Rigveda  and 
those  of  the  law-book  of  Manu.  The  fourth  chapter, 
containing  discussions  about  wind,  breath,  and  other 
phenomena  connected  with  Brahma,  also  teaches  how 
the  soul  makes  its  way  to  Brahma  after  death. 


The  first  half  of  chapter  v.  is  almost  identical  with 
the  beginning  of  chapter  vi.  of  the  Brihadaranyaka.  It 
is  chiefly  noteworthy  for  the  theory  of  transmigration 
which  it  contains.  The  second  half  of  the  chapter  is 
important  as  the  earliest  statement  of  the  doctrine  that 
the  manifold  world  is  unreal.  The  sat  by  desire  pro- 
duced from  itself  the  three  primary  elements,  heat,  water, 
food  (the  later  number  being  five — ether,  air,  fire,  water, 
earth).  As  individual  soul  (jiva-dtman)  it  entered  into 
these,  which,  by  certain  partial  combinations  called 
"  triplication,"  became  various  products  (vikdrd)  or  phe- 
nomena. But  the  latter  are  a  mere  name.  Sat  is  the 
only  reality,  it  is  the  Atman  :  "  Thou  art  that."  Chapter 
vii.  enumerates  sixteen  forms  in  which  Brahma  may 
be  adored,  rising  by  gradation  from  namanf  "name," 
to  b human y  "  infinity,"  which  is  the  all-in-all  and  the 
Atman  within  us.  The  first  half  of  the  last  chapter  dis- 
cusses the  Atman  in  the  heart  and  the  universe,  as  well  as 
how  to  attain  it.  The  concluding  portion  of  the  chapter 
distinguishes  the  false  from  the  true  Atman,  illustrated 
by  the  three  stages  in  which  it  appears — in  the  material 
body,  in  dreaming,  and  in  sound  sleep.  In  the  latter 
stage  we  have  the  true  Atman,  in  which  the  distinction 
between  subject  and  object  has  disappeared. 

To  the  Sdmaveda  also  belongs  a  very  short  treatise 
which  was  long  called  the  Talavakara  Upanishad,  from  the 
school  to  which  it  was  attached,  but  later,  when  it  became 
separated  from  that  school,  received  the  name  of  Kena, 
from  its  initial  word.  It  consists  of  two  distinct  parts. 
The  second,  composed  in  prose  and  much  older,  de- 
scribes the  relation  of  the  Vedic  gods  to  Brahma,  repre- 
senting them  as  deriving  their  power  from  and  entirely 
dependent  on  the  latter.    The  first  part,  which  is  metrical 


and  belongs  to  the  period  of  fully  developed  Vedanta 
doctrine,  distinguishes  from  the  qualified  Brahma,  which 
is  an  object  of  worship,  the  unqualified  Brahma,  which 
is  unknowable  : — 

To  it  no  eye  can  penetrate, 
Nor  speech  nor  thought  can  ever  reach  : 
It  rests  unknown;  we  ca?mot  see 
How  any  one  may  teach  it  us. 

The  various  Upanishads  of  the  Black  Yajurveda  all 
bear  the  stamp  of  lateness.  The  Maitrayana  is  a  prose 
work  of  considerable  extent,  in  which  occasional  stanzas 
are  interspersed.  It  consists  of  seven  chapters,  the 
seventh  and  the  concluding  eight  sections  of  the  sixth 
forming  a  supplement.  The  fact  that  it  retains  the 
orthographical  and  euphonic  peculiarities  of  the  Maitra- 
yana school,  gives  this  Upanishad  an  archaic  appear- 
ance. But  its  many  quotations  from  other  Upanishads, 
the  occurrence  of  several  late  t  words,  the  developed 
Sankhya  doctrine  presupposed  by  it,  distinct  references 
to  anti-Vedic  heretical  schools,  all  combine  to  render  the 
late  character  of  this  work  undoubted.  It  is,  in  fact,  a 
summing  up  of  the  old  Upanishad  doctrines  with  an 
admixture  of  ideas  derived  from  the  Sankhya  system 
and  from  Buddhism.  The  main  body  of  the  treatise 
expounds  the  nature  of  the  Atman,  communicated  to 
King  Brihadratha  of  the  race  of  Ikshvaku  (probably 
identical  with  the  king  of  that  name  mentioned  in  the 
Rdmdyana),  who  declaims  at  some  length  on  the  misery 
and  transitoriness  of  earthly  existence.  Though  pessi- 
mism is  not  unknown  to  the  old  Upanishads,  it  is  much 
more  pronounced  here,  doubtless  in  consequence  of 
Sankhya  and  Buddhistic  influence. 

The  subject  is  treated  in  the  form  of  three  ques  tions. 


The  answer  to  the  first,  how  the  Atman  enters  the  body, 
is  that  Prajapati  enters  in  the  form  of  the  five  vital  airs  in 
order  to  animate  the  lifeless  bodies  created  by  him.  The 
second  question  is,  How  does  the  supreme  soul  become 
the  individual  soul  (bhutdtman)  ?  This  is  answered  rather 
in  accordance  with  the  Sankhya  than  the  Vedanta 
doctrine.  Overcome  by  the  three  qualities  of  matter 
(prakriti),  the  Atman,  forgetting  its  real  nature,  becomes 
involved  in  self-consciousness  and  transmigration.  The 
third  question  is,  How  is  deliverance  from  this  state 
of  misery  possible  ?  This  is  answered  in  conformity 
with  neither  Vedanta  nor  Sankhya  doctrine,  but  in  a 
reactionary  spirit.  Only  those  who  observe  the  old 
requirements  of  Brahmanism,  the  rules  of  caste  and 
the  religious  orders  (dcramas),  are  declared  capable  of 
attaining  salvation  by  knowledge,  penance,  and  medi- 
tation on  Brahma.  The  chief  gods,  that  is  to  say, 
the  triad  of  the  Brahmana  period,  Fire,  Wind,  San, 
the  three  abstractions,  Time,  Breath,  Food,  and  the  three 
popular  gods,  Brahma,  Rudra  (i.e.  (Jiva),  and  Vishnu  are 
explained  as  manifestations  of  Brahma. 

The  remainder  of  this  Upanishad  is  supplementary, 
but  contains  several  passages  of  considerable  interest. 
We  have  here  a  cosmogonic  myth,  like  those  of  the 
Brahmanas,  in  which  the  three  qualities  of  matter,  Tamas, 
Rajas,  Sattva,  are  connected  with  Rudra,  Brahma,  and 
Vishnu,  and  which  is  in  other  respects  very  remarkable 
as  a  connecting  link  between  the  philosophy  of  the 
Rigveda  and  the  later  Sankhya  system.  The  sun  is  fur- 
ther represented  as  the  external,  and  prdna  (breath)  as 
the  internal,  symbol  of  the  Atman,  their  worship  being 
recommended  by  means  of  the  sacred  syllable  om,  the 

three  "utterances"  {vydhritis)  bhur,  bhuvah,  svart  and  the 


famous  Sdvitri  stanza.  As  a  means  of  attaining  Brahma 
we  find  a  recommendation  of  Yoga  or  the  ascetic  prac- 
tices leading  to  a  state  of  mental  concentration  and 
bordering  on  trance.  The  information  we  here  receive 
of  these  practices  is  still  undeveloped  compared  with 
the  later  system.  In  addition  to  the  three  conditions 
of  Brahma,  waking,  dreaming,  and  deep  sleep,  mention 
is  made  of  a  fourth  (turiyd)  and  highest  stage.  The 
Upanishad  concludes  with  the  declaration  that  the  Atman 
entered  the  world  of  duality  because  it  wished  to  taste 
both  truth  and  illusion. 

Older  than  the  Maitrdyana,  which  borrows  from 
them,  are  two  other  Upanishads  of  the  Black  Yajur- 
veday  the  Kdthaka  and  the  (^vetdcvatara.  The  former 
contains  some  120  and  the  latter  some  no  stanzas. 

The  Kdthaka  deals  with  the  legend  of  Nachiketas, 
which  is  told  in  the  Kathaka  portion  of  the  Taittiriya 
Brdhmana,  and  a  knowledge  of  which  it  presupposes. 
This  is  indicated  by  the  fact  that  it  begins  with  the 
same  words  as  the  Brahmana  story.  The  treatise 
appears  to  have  consisted  originally  of  the  first  only 
of  its  two  chapters.  For  the  second,  with  its  more 
developed  notions  about  Yoga  and  its  much  more  pro- 
nounced view  as  to  the  unreality  of  phenomena,  looks 
like  a  later  addition.  The  first  contains  an  introductory 
narrative,  an  account  of  the  Atman,  of  its  embodiment 
and  final  return  by  means  of  Yoga,  The  second  chap- 
ter, though  less  well  arranged,  on  the  whole  corresponds 
in  matter  with  the  first.  Its  fourth  section,  while  dis- 
cussing the  nature  of  the  Atman,  identifies  both  soul 
{purusha)  and  matter  (prakriti)  with  it.  The  fifth  sec- 
tion deals  with  the  manifestation  of  the  Atman  in  the 
world,  and  especially  in  man.     The  way  in  which  it  at 


the  same  time  remains  outside  them  in  its  full  integrity 
and  is  not  affected  by  the  suffering  of  living  beings,  is 
strikingly  illustrated  by  the  analogy  of  both  light  and 
air,  which  pervade  space  and  yet  embrace  every  object, 
and  of  the  sun,  the  eye  of  the  universe,  which  remains 
free  from  the  blemishes  of  all  other  eyes  outside  of  it. 
In  the  last  section  Yoga  is  taught  to  be  the  means 
of  attaining  the  highest  goal.  The  gradation  of  mental 
faculties  here  described  is  of  great  interest  for  the  history 
of  the  Sankhya  and  Yoga  system.  An  unconscious  con- 
tradiction runs  through  this  discussion,  inasmuch  as 
though  the  Atman  is  regarded  as  the  all-in-all,  a  sharp 
contrast  is  drawn  between  soul  and  matter.  It  is  the 
contradiction  between  the  later  Vedanta  and  the  Sankhya- 
Yoga  systems  of  philosphy. 

According  to  its  own  statement,  the  Qvetacvatara 
Upanishad  derives  its  name  from  an  individual  author, 
and  the  tradition  which  attributes  it  to  one  of  the 
schools  of  the  Black  Yajurveda  hardly  seems  to  have 
a  sufficient  foundation.  Its  confused  arrangement,  the 
irregularities  and  arbitrary  changes  of  its  metres,  the 
number  of  interpolated  quotations  which  it  contains, 
make  the  assumption  likely  that  the  work  in  its  pre- 
sent form  is  not  the  work  of  a  single  author.  In  its 
present  form  it  is  certainly  later  than  the  Kdthakaf  since 
it  contains  several  passages  which  must  be  referred  to 
that  work,  besides  many  stanzas  borrowed  from  it 
with  or  without  variation.  Its  lateness  is  further  indi- 
cated by  the  developed  theory  of  Yoga  which  it  contains, 
besides  the  more  or  less  definite  form  in  which  it  ex- 
hibits various  Vedanta  doctrines  either  unknown  to  or 
only  foreshadowed  in  the  earlier  Upanishads.  Among 
these  may  be  mentioned  the  destruction  of  the  world 


by  Brahma  at  the  end  of  a  cosmic  age  {kalpa)y 
as  well  as  its  periodic  renewal  out  of  Brahma,  and 
especially  the  explanation  of  the  world  as  an  illusion 
(mdya)  produced  by  Brahma.  At  the  same  time  the 
author  shows  a  strange  predilection  for  the  personified 
forms  of  Brahma  as  Savitri,  Icana,  or  Rudra.  Though 
(^iva  has  not  yet  become  the  name  of  Rudra,  its  frequent 
use  as  an  adjective  connected  with  the  latter  shows 
that  it  is  in  course  of  becoming  fixed  as  the  proper 
name  of  the  highest  god.  In  this  Upanishad  we  meet 
with  a  number  of  the  terms  and  fundamental  notions 
of  the  Sankhya,  though  the  point  of  view  is  thoroughly 
Vedantist ;  matter  (prakriti),  for  instance,  being  repre- 
sented as  an  illusion  produced  by  Brahma. 

To  the  White  Yajurveda  is  attached  the  longest,  and, 
beside  the  Chhdndogya,  the  most  important  of  the  Upani- 
shads.  It  bears  even  clearer  traces  than  that  work  of 
being  a  conglomerate  of  what  must  originally  have  been 
separate  treatises.  It  is  divided  into  three  parts,  each 
containing  two  chapters.  The  last  part  is  designated, 
even  in  the  tradition  of  the  commentaries,  as  a  supple- 
ment (Khila~kdnda)y  a  statement  fully  borne  out  by  the 
contents.  That  the  first  and  second  parts  were  also 
originally  independent  of  each  other  is  sufficiently 
proved  by  both  containing  the  legend  of  Yajnavalkya 
and  his  two  wives  in  almost  identical  words  throughout. 
To  each  of  these  parts  (as  well  as  to  Book  x.  of  the 
(^atapatha  Brdhmand)  a  successive  list  {vamcd)  of  teachers 
is  attached.  A  comparison  of  these  lists  seems  to  justify 
the  conclusion  that  the  first  part  (called  Madhukdndd) 
and  the  second  (  Ydjnavalkya-kd?idd)  existed  during  nine 
generations  as  independent  Upanishads  within  the  school 
of  the  White  Yajurveda,  and  were  then  combined  by  a 


teacher  named  Agnivecya;  the  third  part,  which  con- 
sists of  all  kinds  of  supplementary  matter,  being  subse- 
quently added.  These  lists  further  make  the  conclusion 
probable  that  the  leading  teachers  of  the  ritual  tradition 
(Brahmanas)  were  different  from  those  of  the  philoso- 
phical tradition  (Upanishads). 

Beginning  with  an  allegorical  interpretation  of  the 
most  important  sacrifice,  the  Agvamedha  (horse-sacrifice), 
as  the  universe,  the  first  chapter  proceeds  to  deal  with 
prdna  (breath)  as  a  symbol  of  soul,  and  then  with  the 
creation  of  the  world  out  of  the  Atman  or  Brahma, 
insisting  on  the  dependence  of  all  existence  on  the  Su- 
preme Soul,  which  appears  in  every  individual  as  his  self. 
The  polemical  attitude  adopted  against  the  worship  of 
the  gods  is  characteristic,  showing  that  the  passage  be- 
longs to  an  early  period,  in  which  the  doctrine  of  the 
superiority  of  the  Atman  to  the  gods  was  still  asserting 
itself.  The  next  chapter  deals  with  the  nature  of  the  Atman 
and  its  manifestations,  purusJia  and  prdna. 

The  second  part  of  the  Upanishad  consists  of  four 
philosophical  discussions,  in  which  Yajnavalkya  is  the 
chief  speaker.  The  first  (iii.  1-9)  is  a  great  disputation, 
in  which  the  sage  proves  his  superiority  to  nine  suc- 
cessive interlocutors.  One  of  the  most  interesting  con- 
clusions here  arrived  at  is  that  Brahma  is  theoretically 
unknowable,  but  can  be  comprehended  practically.  The 
second  discourse  is  a  dialogue  between  King  Janaka  and 
Yajnavalkya,  in  which  the  latter  shows  the  untenable- 
ness  of  six  definitions  set  up  by  other  teachers  as  to  the 
nature  of  Brahma ;  for ,  instance,  that  it  is  identical 
with  Breath  or  Mind.  He  finally  declares  that  the 
Atman  can  only  be  described  negatively,  being  intangible, 
indestructible,  independent,  immovable. 


The  third  discourse  (iv.  3-4)  is  another  dialogue 
between  Janaka  and  Yajnavalkya.  It  presents  a  picture 
of  the  soul  in  the  conditions  of  waking,  dreaming,  deep 
sleep,  dying,  transmigration,  and  salvation.  For  wealth 
of  illustration,  fervour  of  conviction,  beauty  and  elevation 
of  thought,  this  piece  is  unequalled  in  the  Upanishads 
or  any  other  work  of  Indian  literature.  Its  literary 
effect  is  heightened  by  the  numerous  stanzas  with  which 
it  is  interspersed.  These  are,  however,  doubtless  later 
additions.     The  dreaming  soul  is  thus  described  : — 

Leaving  its  lower  nest  in  breattts  protection, 
And  upward  from  that  nest,  immortal,  soaring, 
Where'er  it  lists  it  roves  about  immortal, 
The  golden-pinioned  only  swan  of  spirit  (IV.  iii.  13). 

//  roves  in  dream  condition  up  and  downward, 
Divinely  many  shapes  and  forms  assuming  (ib.  14). 

Then  follows  an  account  of  the  dreamless  state  of  the 
soul  : — 

As  a  falcon  or  an  eagle,  having  flown  about  in  the  air, 
exhausted  folds  together  its  wings  and  prepares  to  alight,  so 
the  spirit  hastes  to  that  condition  in  which,  asleep,  it  feels  no 
desire  and  sees  no  dream  (19). 

This  is  its  essential  form,  in  which  it  rises  above  desire, 
is  free  from  evil  and  without  fear.  For  as  one  embraced  by 
a  beloved  woman  wots  not  of  anything  without  or  within, 
so  also  the  soul  embraced  by  the  cognitional  Self  wots  not  of 
anything  without  or  within  (21). 

With  regard  to  the  souls  of  those  who  are  not  saved, 
the  view  of  the  writer  appears  to  be  that  after  death 
they  enter  a  new  body  immediately  and  without  any 
intervening  retribution  in  the  other  world,  in  exact 
accordance  with  their  intellectual  and  moral  quality. 


As  a  caterpillar,  when  it  has  reached  the  point  of  a  leaf, 
makes  a  new  beginning  and  draws  itself  across,  so  the  soul, 
after  casting  off  the  body  and  letting  go  ignorance,  makes  a 
new  beginning  and  draivs  itself  across  (IV.  iv.  3). 

As  a  goldsmith  takes  the  material  of  an  image  and 
hammers  out  of  it  another  newer  and  more  beautiful  form, 
so  also  the  soul  after  casting  off  the  body  and  letting  go 
ignorance,  creates  for  itself  another  newer  and  more  beautiful 
form,  either  that  of  the  Fathers  or  the  Gandharvas  or  the 
Gods,  or  Prajapati  or  Brahma,  or  other  beings  (IV.  iv.  4). 

But  the  vital  airs  of  him  who  is  saved,  who  knows 
himself  to  be  identical  with  Brahma,  do  not  depart,  for 
he  is  absorbed  in  Brahma  and  is  Brahma. 

As  a  serpent's  skin,  dead  and  cast  off,  lies  upon  an  ant- 
hill, so  his  body  then  lies ;  but  that  which  is  bodiless  and 
immortal,  the  life,  is  pure  Brahma,  is  pure  light  (IV.  iv.  7). 

The  fourth  discourse  is  a  dialogue  between  Yajna- 
valkya  and  his  wife  Maitreyl,  before  the  former,  about 
to  renounce  the  world,  retires  to  the  solitude  of  the 
forest.  There  are  several  indications  that  it  is  a  secon- 
dary recension  of  the  same  conversation  occurring  in  a 
previous  chapter  (II.  iv.). 

The  first  chapter  of  the  third  or  supplementary 
part  consists  of  fifteen  sections,  which  are  often  quite 
short,  are  mostly  unconnected  in  matter,  and  appear  to 
be  of  very  different  age.  The  second  chapter,  however, 
forms  a  long  and  important  treatise  (identical  with  that 
found  in  the  Chhandogyd)  on  the  doctrine  of  transmigration. 
The  views  here  expressed  are  so  much  at  variance  with 
those  of  Yajnavalkya  that  this  text  must  have  originated 
in  another  Vedic  school,  and  have  been  loosely  attached 
to  this  Upanishad  owing  to  the  peculiar  importance  of 


its  contents.  The  preceding  and  following  section,  which 
are  connected  with  it,  and  are  also  found  in  the  Chhdn- 
dogya,  must  have  been  added  at  the  same  time. 

.  Not  only  is  the  longest  Upanishad  attached  to  the 
White  Yajurveda,  but  also  one  of  the  very  shortest, 
consisting  of  only  eighteen  stanzas.  This  is  the  led, 
which  is  so  called  from  its  initial  word.  Though  form- 
ing the  last  chapter  of  the  Vdjasaneyi  Samhitd,  it  belongs 
to  a  rather  late  period.  It  is  about  contemporaneous 
with  the  latest  parts  of  the  Brihaddrariyaka,  is  more 
developed  in  many  points  than  the  Kathaka,  but  seems 
to  be  older  than  the  Qvetdcvatara.  Its  leading  motive 
is  to  contrast  him  who  knows  himself  to  be  the  same 
as  the  Atman  with  him  who  does  not  possess  true 
knowledge.  It  affords  an  excellent  survey  of  the  funda- 
mental doctrines  of  the  Vedanta  philosophy. 

A  large  and  indefinite  number  of  Upanishads  is  attri- 
buted to  the  Atharva-veda,  but  the  most  authoritative 
list  recognises  twenty-seven  altogether.  They  are  for 
the  most  part  of  very  late  origin,  being  post-Vedic,  and, 
all  but  three,  contemporaneous  with  the  Puranas.  One 
of  them  is  actually  a  Muhammadan  treatise  entitled  the 
Alia  Upanishad !  The  older  Upanishads  which  belong  to 
the  first  three  Vedas  were,  with  a  few  exceptions  like  the 
£vetdcvatara,  the  dogmatic  text-books  of  actual  Vedic 
schools,  and  received  their  names  from  those  schools, 
being  connected  with  and  supplementary  to  the  ritual 
Brahmanas.  The  Upanishads  of  the  Atharva-veda,  on  the 
other  hand,  are  with  few  exceptions  like  the  Mandukya 
and  the  Jdbala,  no  longer  connected  with  Vedic  schools, 
but  derive  their  names  from  their  subject-matter  or 
some  other  circumstance.  They  appear  for  the  most 
part  to  represent  the  views  of  theosophic,  mystic,  ascetic, 


or  sectarian  associations,  who  wished  to  have  an  Upani- 
shad  of  their  own  in  imitation  of  the  old  Vedic  schools. 
They  became  attached  to  the  A tharva-ve da  not  from  any 
internal  connection,  but  partly  because  the  followers  of 
the  Atharva-veda  desired  to  become  possessed  of  dog- 
matic text-books  of  their  own,  and  partly  because  the 
fourth  Veda  was  not  protected  from  the  intrusion  of 
foreign  elements  by  the  watchfulness  of  religious  guilds 
like  the  old  Vedic  schools. 

The  fundamental  doctrine  common  to  all  the  Upani- 
shads  of  the  Atharva-veda  is  developed  by  most  of 
them  in  various  special  directions.  They  may  accord- 
ingly be  divided  into  four  categories  which  run  chro- 
nologically parallel  with  one  another,  each  containing 
relatively  old  and  late  productions.  The  first  group, 
as  directly  investigating  the  nature  of  the  Atman,  has 
a  scope  similar  to  that  of  the  Upanishads  of  the  other 
Vedas,  and  goes  no  further  than  the  latter  in  develop- 
ing its  main  thesis.  The  next  group,  taking  the  funda- 
mental doctrine  for  granted,  treats  of  absorption  in  the 
Atman  through  ascetic  meditation  {yoga)  based  on  the 
component  parts  of  the  sacred  syllable  om.  These 
Upanishads  are  almost  without  exception  composed 
in  verse  and  are  quite  short,  consisting  on  the  average 
of  about  twenty  stanzas.  In  the  third  category  the 
life  of  the  religious  mendicant  (sannyasiri),  as  a  practical 
consequence  of  the  Upanishad  doctrine,  is  recommended 
and  described.  These  Upanishads,  too,  are  short,  but 
are  written  in  prose,  though  with  an  admixture  of  verse. 
The  last  group  is  sectarian  in  character,  interpreting 
the  popular  gods  (Jiva  (under  various  names,  such  as 
Igana,  Mahegvara,  Mahadeva)  and  Vishnu  (as  Nara- 
yana  and  Nrisimha  or  "  Man-lion")  as  personifications 


of  the  Atman.  The  different  Avatars  of  Vishnu  are 
here  regarded  as  human  manifestations  of  the  Atman. 

The  oldest  and  most  important  of  these  Atharvan 
Upanishads,  as  representing  the  Vedanta  doctrine  most 
faithfully,  are  the  Munddka,  the  Pracna,  and  to  a  less 
degree  the  Mandukya.  The  first  two  come  nearest  to 
the  Upanishads  of  the  older  Vedas,  and  are  much 
quoted  by  Badarayana  and  (^ankara,  the  great  authori- 
ties of  the  later  Vedanta  philosophy.  They  are  the  only 
original  and  legitimate  Upanishads  of  the  Atharva.  The 
Mundaka  derives  its  name  from  being  the  Upanishad 
of  the  tonsured  (munda),  an  association  of  ascetics  who 
shaved  their  heads,  as  the  Buddhist  monks  did  later. 
It  is  one  of  the  most  popular  of  the  Upanishads,  not 
owing  to  the  originality  of  its  contents,  which  are  for  the 
most  part  derived  from  older  texts,  but  owing  to  the  purity 
with  which  it  reproduces  the  old  Vedanta  doctrine,  and 
the  beauty  of  the  stanzas  in  which  it  is  composed.  It 
presupposes,  above  all,  the  Chhdndogya  Upanishad,  and  in 
all  probability  the  Brihadaranyaka,  the  Taittirlya,  and  the 
Kathaka.  Having  several  important  passages  in  common 
with  the  ^vetacvatara  and  the  Brihanndrdyana  of  the  Black 
Yajurveda,  it  probably  belongs  to  the  same  epoch, 
coming  between  the  two  in  order  of  time.  It  consists 
of  three  parts,  which,  speaking  generally,  deal  respec- 
tively with  the  preparations  for  the  knowledge  of 
Brahma,  the  doctrine  of  Brahma,  and  the  way  to 

The  Pragna  Upanishad,  written  in  prose  and  appa- 
rently belonging  to  the  Pippalada  recension  of  the 
Atharva-veda,  is  so  called  because  it  treats,  in  the  form 
of  questions  (pracnd)  addressed  by  six  students  of 
Brahma  to  the  sage  Pippalada,  six  main  points  of  the 


Vedanta  doctrine.  These  questions  concern  the  origin 
of  matter  and  life  {prdna)  from  Prajapati ;  the  supe- 
riority of  life  {prdna)  above  the  other  vital  powers ;  the 
nature  and  divisions  of  the  vital  powers ;  dreaming  and 
dreamless  sleep  ;  meditation  on  the  syllable  0111 ;  and 
the  sixteen  parts  of  man. 

The  Mdndukya  is  a  very  short  prose  Upanishad, 
which  would  hardly  fill  two  pages  of  the  present  book. 
Though  bearing  the  name  of  a  half-forgotten  school 
of  the  Rigveda,  it  is  reckoned  among  the  Upanishads 
of  the  Atharva-veda.  It  must  date  from  a  considerably 
later  time  than  the  prose  Upanishads  of  the  three  older 
Vedas,  with  the  unmethodical  treatment  and  prolixity 
of  which  its  precision  and  conciseness  are  in  marked 
contrast.  It  has  many  points  of  contact  with  the 
Maitrdyana  Upanishad,  to  which  it  seems  to  be  pos- 
terior. It  appears,  however,  to  be  older  than  the  rest 
of  the  treatises  which  form  the  fourth  class  of  the 
Upanishads  of  the  Atharva-veda.  Thus  it  distinguishes 
only  three  morae  in  the  syllable  am,  and  not  yet  three 
and  a  half.  The  fundamental  idea  of  this  Upanishad 
is  that  the  sacred  syllable  is  an  expression  of  the  uni- 
verse. It  is  somewhat  remarkable  that  this  work  is 
not  quoted  by  (^ankara ;  nevertheless,  it  not  only  exer- 
cised a  great  influence  on  several  Upanishads  of  the 
Atharva-veday  but  was  used  more  than  any  other  Upa- 
nishad by  the  author  of  the  well-known  later  epitome 
of  the  Vedanta  doctrine,  the  Veddnta-sdra. 

It  is,  however,  chiefly  important  as  having  given 
rise  to  one  of  the  most  remarkable  products  of  Indian 
philosophy,  the  Kdrikd  of  Gaudapada.  This  work  con- 
sists of  more  than  200  stanzas  divided  into  four  parts, 
the  first   of  which   includes   the  Mdndukya   Upanishad, 


The  esteem  in  which  the  Kdrikd  was  held  is  indicated  by 
the  fact  that  its  parts  are  reckoned  as  four  Upanishads. 
There  is  much  probability  in  the  assumption  that  its 
author  is  identical  with  Gaudapada,  the  teacher  of 
Govinda,  whose  pupil  was  the  great  Vedantist  com- 
mentator, (^ANKARA  (800  A.D.).  The  point  of  view  of 
the  latter  is  the  same  essentially  as  that  of  the  author 
of  the  Kdrikd,  and  many  of  the  thoughts  and  figures 
which  begin  to  appear  in  the  earlier  work  are  in 
common  use  in  Cankara's  commentaries.  (^ankara 
may,  in  fact,  be  said  to  have  reduced  the  doctrines  of 
Gaudapada  to  a  system,  as  did  Plato  those  of  Par- 
menides.  Indeed,  the  two  leading  ideas  which  pervade 
the  Indian  poem,  viz.,  that  there  is  no  duality  (advaitd) 
and  no  becoming  (ajdti)y  are,  as  Professor  Deussen 
points  out,  identical  with  those  of  the  Greek  philosopher. 

The  first  part  of  the  Kdrikd  is  practically  a  metrical 
paraphrase  of  the  Mdndukya  Upomishad.  Peculiar  to 
it  is  the  statement  that  the  world  is  not  an  illusion  or 
a  development  in  any  sense,  but  the  very  nature  or 
essence  (svablidvd)  of  Brahma,  just  as  the  rays,  which 
are  all  the  same  (i.e.  light),  are  not  different  from  the 
sun.  The  remainder  of  the  poem  is  independent  of 
the  Upanishad  and  goes  far  beyond  its  doctrines.  The 
second  part  has  the  special  title  of  Vaitathya  or  the 
"Falseness"  of  the  doctrine  of  reality.  Just  as  a  rope 
is  in  the  dark  mistaken  for  a  snake,  so  the  Atman  in 
the  darkness  of  ignorance  is  mistaken  for  the  world. 
Every  attempt  to  imagine  the  Atman  under  empirical 
forms  is  futile,  for  every  one's  idea  of  it  is  dependent 
on  his  experience  of  the  world. 

The  third  part  is  entitled  Advaita,  "Non-duality." 
The   identity  of   the    Supreme  Soul  (Atman)  with   the 


individual  soul  (jiva)  is  illustrated  by  comparison  with 
space,  and  that  part  of  it  which  is  contained  in  a  jar. 
Arguing  against  the  theory  of  genesis  and  plurality, 
the  poet  lays  down  the  axiom  that  nothing  can  be- 
come different  from  its  own  nature.  The  production 
of  the  existent  (sato  janmd)  is  impossible,  for  that  would 
be  produced  which  already  exists.  The  production  of 
the  non-existent  {asato  janmd)  is  also  impossible,  for 
the  non-existent  is  never  produced,  any  more  than  the 
son  of  a  barren  woman.  The  last  part  is  entitled  A  lata- 
ganti,  or  "  Extinction  of  the  firebrand  (circle),"  so  called 
from  an  ingenious  comparison  made  to  explain  how 
plurality  and  genesis  seem  to  exist  in  the  world.  If 
a  stick  which  is  glowing  at  one  end  is  waved  about,  fiery 
lines  or  circles  are  produced  without  anything  being 
added  to  or  issuing  from  the  single  burning  point.  The 
fiery  line  or  circle  exists  only  in  the  consciousness 
(yijnana).  So,  too,  the  many  phenomena  of  the  world 
are  merely  the  vibrations  of  the  consciousness,  which 
is  one. 


{Circa  500-200  B.C.) 

As  the  Upanishads  were  a  development  of  the  specu- 
lative side  of  the  Brahmanas  and  constituted  the  text- 
books of  Vedic  dogma,  so  the  (Jrauta  Sutras  form  the 
continuation  of  their  ritual  side,  though  they  are  not, 
like  the  Upanishads,  regarded  as  a  part  of  revela- 
tion. A  sacred  character  was  never  attributed  to 
them,  probably  because  they  were  felt  to  be  treatises 
compiled,  with  the  help  of  oral  priestly  tradition,  from 
the  contents  of  the  Brahmanas  solely  to  meet  practical 
needs.  The  oldest  of  them  seem  to  go  back  to  about 
the  time  when  Buddhism  came  into  being.  Indeed  it 
is  quite  possible  that  the  rise  of  the  rival  religion  gave 
the  first  impetus  to  the  composition  of  systematic 
manuals  of  Brahmanic  worship.  The  Buddhists  in 
their  turn  must  have  come  to  regard  Sutras  as  the  type 
of  treatise  best  adapted  for,  the  expression  of  religious 
doctrine,  for  the  earliest  Pali  texts  are  works  of  this 
character.  The  term  Kalpa  Sutra  is  used  to  designate 
the  whole  body  of  Sutras  concerned  with  religion  which 
belonged  to  a  particular  Vedic  school.  Where  such  a 
complete  collection  has  been  preserved,  the  (Jrauta  Sutra 
forms  its  first  and  most  extensive  portion. 

To  the  Rigveda  belong  the  ^rauta  manuals  of  two 



Sutra  schools  (charanas),  the  (Jankhayanas  and  the 
Acvalayanas,  the  former  of  whom  were  in  later  times 
settled  in  Northern  Gujarat,  the  latter  in  the  South 
between  the  Godavarl  and  the  Krishna.  The  ritual  is 
described  in  much  the  same  order  by  both,  but  the 
account  of  the  great  royal  sacrifices  is  much  more  de- 
tailed in  the  ^dnkhdyana  Qrauta  Sutra.  The  latter,  which 
is  closely  connected  with  the  ^dnkhdyana  Brdhmanay 
seems  to  be  the  older  of  the  two,  on  the  ground  both 
of  its  matter  and  of  its  style,  which  in  many  parts 
resembles  that  of  the  Brahmanas.  It  consists  of 
eighteen  books,  the  last  two  of  which  were  added  later, 
and  correspond  to  the  first  two  books  of  the  Kaushltaki 
Aranyaka.  The  Crauta  Sutra  of  AgvALAYANA,  which 
consists  of  twelve  books,  is  related  to  the  Aitareya 
Brdhmana.  Acvalayana  is  also  known  as  the  author 
of  the  fourth  book  of  the  Aitareya  Araiiyakay  and  was 
according  to  tradition  the  pupil  of  (^aunaka. 

Three  (Jrauta  Sutras  to  the  Sdmaveda  have  been  pre- 
served. The  oldest,  that  of  Ma^aka,  also  called  Arsheya- 
kalpa}  is  nothing  more  than  an  enumeration  of  the 
prayers  belonging  to  the  various  ceremonies  of  the  Soma 
sacrifice  in  the  order  of  the  Panchavimca  Brdhmana, 
The  (^rauta  Sutra  composed  by  Latyayana,  became  the 
accepted  manual  of  the  Kauthuma  school.  This  Sutra, 
like  that  of  Macaka,  which  it  quotes,  is  closely  connected 
with  the  Panchavimca  Brdhmana.  The  (Jrauta  Sutra  of 
Drahyayana,  which  differs  but  little  from  that  of  Latya- 
yana, belongs  to  the  Ranayanlya  branch  of  the  Sdma- 

To  the  White  Yajurveda  belongs  the  (Jrauta  Sutra  of 
Katyayana.  This  manual,  which  consists  of  twenty-six 
chapters,   on   the  whole   strictly   follows   the   sacrificial 


order  of  the  Qatapatha  Brahmana.  Three  of  its  chapters 
(xxii.-xxiv.),  however,  relate  to  the  ceremonial  of  the 
Sdmaveda.  Owing  to  the  enigmatical  character  of  its 
style,  it  appears  to  be  one  of  the  later  productions  of 
the  Sutra  period. 

No  less  than  six  (Jrauta  Sutras  belonging  to  the  Black 
Yajurveda  have  been  preserved,  but  only  two  of  them 
have  as  yet  been  published.  Four  of  these  form  a  very 
closely  connected  group,  being  part  of  the  Kalpa  Sutras 
of  four  subdivisions  of  the  Taittirlya  (Jakha,  which  repre- 
sented the  later  sutra  schools  (ckaranas)  not  claiming  a 
special  revelation  of  Veda  or  Brahmana.  The  (Jrauta 
Sutra  of  Apastamba  forms  the  first  twenty-four  of  the 
thirty  chapters  (pracnas)  into  which  his  Kalpa  Sutra  is 
divided;  and  that  of  Hiranyake^in,  an  offshoot  of 
the  Apastambas,  the  first  eighteen  of  the  twenty-nine 
chapters  of  his  Kalpa  Sutra.  The  Sutra  of  Baudhayana, 
who  is  older  than  Apastamba,  as  well  as  that  of  Bharad- 
vaja,  has  not  yet  been  published. 

Connected  with  the  Maitrdyani  Samhitd  is  the  Mdnava 
Qrauta  Sutra.  It  belongs  to  the  Manavas,  who  wTere  a 
subdivision  of  the  Maitrayaniyas,  and  to  whom  the  law- 
book of  Manu  probably  traces  its  origin.  It  seems  to  be 
one  of  the  oldest.  It  has  a  descriptive  character,  re- 
sembling the  Brahmana  parts  of  the  Yajurveda}  and 
differing  from  them  only  in  simply  describing  the  course 
of  the  sacrifice,  to  the  exclusion  of  legends,  speculations, 
or  discussions  of  any  kind.  There  is  also  a  Vaikhdnasa 
Qrauta  Sutra  attached  to  the  Black  Yajurveda,  but  it  is 
known  only  in  a  few  MSS. 

The  (^rauta  Sutra  of  the  Atharva-veda  is  the  Vaitdna 
Sutra.  It  is  neither  old  nor  original,  but  was  un- 
doubtedly compiled  in  order  to  supply  the  Atharva,  like 


the  other  Vedas,  with  a  Sutra  of  its  own.  It  probably 
received  its  name  from  the  word  with  which  it  begins, 
since  the  term  vaitdna  ("  relating  to  the  three  sacrificial 
fires")  is  equally  applicable  to  all  (Jrauta  Sutras.  It 
agrees  to  a  considerable  extent  with  the  Gopatha  Brdh- 
mana,  though  it  distinctly  follows  the  Sutra  of  Katyayana 
to  the  White  Yajurveda.  One  indication  of  its  lateness 
is  the  fact  that  whereas  in  other  cases  a  Grihya  regularly 
presupposes  the  (Jrauta  Sutra,  the  Vaitdna  is  dependent 
on  the  domestic  sutra  of  the  Atharva-veda. 

Though  the  (Jrauta  Sutras  are  indispensable  for  the 
right  understanding  of  the  sacrificial  ritual,  they  are,  from 
any  other  point  of  view,  a  most  unattractive  form  of  litera- 
ture. It  will,  therefore,  suffice  to  mention  in  briefest  out- 
line the  ceremonies  with  which  they  deal.  It  is  important 
to  remember,  in  the  first  place,  that  these  rites  are  never 
congregational,  but  are  always  performed  on  behalf  of  a 
single  individual,  the  so-called  Yajamdna  or  sacrificer, 
who  takes  but  little  part  in  them.  The  officiators  are 
Brahman  priests,  whose  number  varies  from  one  to 
sixteen,  according  to  the  nature  of  the  ceremony.  In  all 
these  rites  an  important  part  is  played  by  the  three  sacred 
fires  which  surround  the  vedi,  a  slightly  excavated  spot 
covered  with  a  litter  of  grass  for  the  reception  of  offer- 
ings to  the  gods.  The  first  ceremony  of  all  is  the  setting 
up  of  the  sacred  fires  (agni-ddheya),  which  are  kindled 
by  the  sacrificer  and  his  wife  with  the  firesticks,  and  are 
thereafter  to  be  regularly  maintained. 

The  (Jrauta  rites,  fourteen  in  number,  are  divided  into 
the  two  main  groups  of  seven  oblation  {havis)  sacrifices 
and  seven  soma  sacrifices.  Different  forms  of  the  animal 
sacrifice  are  classed  with  each  group.  The  havis  sacri- 
fices consist  of  offerings  of  milk,  ghee,  porridge,  grain, 


cakes,  and  so  forth.  The  commonest  is  the  Agnihotra, 
the  daily  morning  and  evening  oblation  of  milk  to  the 
three  fires.  The  most  important  of  the  others  are  the 
new  and  full  moon  sacrifices  (dar^apurna-mdsd)  and 
those  offered  at  the  beginning  of  the  three  seasons 
{chdturmdsyd).  Besides  some  other  recurrent  sacrifices, 
there  are  very  many  which  are  to  be  offered  on  some 
particular  occasion,  or  for  the  attainment  of  some  special 

The  various  kinds  of  Soma  sacrifices  were  much 
more  complicated.  Even  the  simplest  and  fundamental 
form,  the  Agnishtoma  ("praise  of  Agni")  required  the 
ministrations  of  sixteen  priests.  This  rite  occupied  only 
one  day,  with  three  pressings  of  soma,  at  morning,  noon, 
and  evening ;  but  this  day  was  preceded  by  very  detailed 
preparatory  ceremonies,  one  of  which  was  the  initiation 
(diksha)  of  the  sacrificer  and  his  wife.  Other  soma 
sacrifices  lasted  for  several  days  up  to  twelve;  while 
another  class,  called  sattras or  "  sessions,"  extended  to 
a  year  or  more. 

A  very  sacred  ceremony  that  can  be  connected  with 
the  soma  sacrifice  is  the  Agnichayanay  or  "  Piling  of  the 
fire-altar,"  which  lasts  for  a  year.  It  begins  with  a  sacri- 
fice of  five  animals.  Then  a  long  time  is  occupied  in 
preparing  the  earthenware  vessel,  called  ukhd,  in  which 
fire  is  to  be  maintained  for  a  year.  Very  elaborate  rules 
are  given  both  as  to  the  ingredients,  such  as  the  hair  of  a 
black  antelope,  with  which  the  clay  is  to  be  mixed,  and 
as  to  how  it  is  to  be  shaped,  and  finally  burnt.  Then 
the  bricks,  which  have  different  and  particular  sizes,  have 
to  be  built  up  in  prescribed  order.  The  lowest  of  the 
five  strata  must  have  1950,  all  of  them  together,  a  total 
of  10,800  bricks.     Many  of  these  have  their  special  name 


and  significance.  Thus  the  altar  is  gradually  built  up, 
as  its  bricks  are  placed  in  position,  to  the  accompani- 
ment of  appropriate  rites  and  verses,  by  a  formidable 
array  of  priests.  These  are  but  some  of  the  main  points 
in  the  ceremony  ;  but  they  will  probably  give  some  faint 
idea  of  the  enormous  complexity  and  the  vast  mass  of 
detail,  where  the  smallest  of  minutiae  are  of  importance, 
in  the  Brahman  ritual.  No  other  religion  has  ever  known 
its  like. 

As  the  domestic  ritual  is  almost  entirely  excluded 
from  the  Brahmanas,  the  authors  of  the  Grihya  Sutras 
had  only  the  authority  of  popular  tradition  to  rely  on 
when  they  systematised  the  observances  of  daily  life. 
As  a  type,  the  Grihya  manuals  must  be  somewhat  later 
than  the  (Jrauta,  for  they  regularly  presuppose  a  know- 
ledge of  the  latter. 

To  the  Rigvcda  belongs  in  the  first  place  the  £dn- 
khdyana  Grihya  Sutra,  It  consists  of  six  books,  but 
only  the  first  four  form  the  original  portion  of  the 
work,  and  even  these  contain  interpolations.  Closely 
connected  with  this  work  is  the  Qdmbavya  Grihya,  which 
also  belongs  to  the  school  of  the  Kaushltakins,  and  is 
as  yet  known  only  in  manuscript.  Though  borrowing 
largely  from  (^ankhayana,  it  is  not  identical  with  that 
work.  It  knows  nothing  of  the  last  two  books,  nor 
even  a  number  of  ceremonies  described  in  the  third 
and  fourth,  while  having  a  book  of  its  own  concerning 
the  sacrifice  to  the  Manes.  Connected  with  the  Aitareya 
Brahmana  is  the  Grihya  Sutra  of  Acvalayana,  which  its 
author  in  the  first  aphorism  gives  us  to  understand  is 
a  continuation  of  his  (^rauta  Sutra.  It  consists  of  four 
books,  and,  like  the  latter  work,  ends  with  the  words 
"  adoration  to  £aunaka." 


The  chief  Grihya  Sutra  of  the  Sdmaveda  is  that 
of  Gobhila,  which  is  one  of  the  oldest,  completest,  and 
most  interesting  works  of  this  class.  Its  seems  to  have 
been  used  by  both  the  schools  of  its  Veda.  Besides 
the  text  of  the  Sdmaveda  it  presupposes  the  Mantra 
Brdhmana.  The  latter  is  a  collection,  in  the  ritual  order, 
of  the  mantras  (except  those  occurring  in  the  Sdmaveda 
itself),  which  are  quoted  by  Gobhila  in  an  abbreviated 
form.  The  Grihya  Sutra  of  Khadira,  belonging  to  the 
Drahyayana  school  and  used  by  the  Ranayanlya  branch 
of  the  Sdmaveda,  is  little  more  than  Gobhila  remodelled 
in  a  more  succinct  form. 

The  Grihya  Sutra  of  the  White  Yajurveda  is  that 
of  PARASKARA,  also  called  the  Kdtiya  or  Vdjasaneya 
Grihya  Sutra.  It  is  so  closely  connected  with  the 
(Jrauta  Sutra  of  Katyayana,  that  it  is  often  quoted 
under  the  name  of  that  author.  The  later  law-book  of 
Yajnavalkya  bears  evidence  of  the  influence  of  Para- 
skara's  work. 

Of  the  seven  Grihya  Sutras  of  the  Black  Yajurveda 
only  three  have  as  yet  been  published.  The  Grihya 
of  Apastamba  forms  two  books  (26-27)  °f  ms  Kalpa 
Sutra.  The  first  of  these  two  books  is  the  Manfra- 
pdtha,  which  is  a  collection  of  the  formulas  accompanying 
the  ceremonies.  The  Grihya  Sutra,  in  the  strict  sense, 
is  the  second  book,  which  presupposes  the  Mantrapdtha. 
Books  XIX.  and  XX.  of  Hiranyakecin's  Kalpa  Sutra 
form  his  Grihya  Sutra.  About  Baudhayana's  Grihya 
not  much  is  known,  still  less  about  that  of  Bharadvaja. 
The  Mdnava  Grihya  Sutra  is  closely  connected  with 
the  (Jrauta,  repeating  many  of  the  statements  of  the 
latter  verbally.  It  is  interesting  as  containing  a  cere- 
mony unknown    to   other   Grihya    Sutras,   the  worship 


of  the  Vinayakas.  The  passage  reappears  in  a  versified 
form  in  Yajnavalkya's  law-book,  where  the  four  Vina- 
yakas are  transformed  into  the  one  Vinayaka,  the  god 
Ganeea.  With  the  Mdnava  is  clearly  connected  the 
Kdthaka  Grihya  Sutra,  not  only  in  the  principle  of 
its  arrangement,  but  even  in  the  wording  of  many 
passages.  It  is  nearly  related  to  the  law-book  of  Vishnu. 
The  Vaikhdnasa  Grihya  Sutra  is  an  extensive  work 
bearing  traces  of  a  late  origin,  and  partly  treating 
of  subjects  otherwise  relegated  to  works  of  a  supple- 
mentary character. 

To  the  Atharva-veda  belongs  the  important  Kaucika 
Siitra,  It  is  not  a  mere  Grihya  Sutra,  for  besides 
giving  the  more  important  rules  of  the  domestic  ritual, 
it  deals  with  the  magical  and  other  practices  specially 
connected  with  its  Veda.  By  its  extensive  references 
to  these  subjects  it  supplies  much  material  unknown 
to  other  Vedic  schools.  It  is  a  composite  work,  appa- 
rently made  up  of  four  or  five  different  treatises.  In 
combination  with  the  Atharva-veda  it  supplies  an  almost 
complete  picture  of  the  ordinary  life  of  the  Vedic 

The  Grihya  Sutras  give  the  rules  for  the  numerous 
ceremonies  applicable  to  the  domestic  life  of  a  man 
and  his  family  from  birth  to  the  grave.  For  the  per- 
formance of  their  ritual  only  the  domestic  (avasathya 
or  vaivdhikd)  fire  was  required,  as  contrasted  with  the 
three  sacrificial  fires  of  the  Crauta  Sutras.  They  de- 
scribe forty  consecrations  or  sacraments  (samskdras) 
which  are  performed  at  various  important  epochs  in 
the  life  of  the  individual.  The  first  eighteen,  extending 
from  conception  to  marriage,  are  called  "  bodily  sacra- 
ments."   The  remaining  twenty-two  are  sacrifices.    Eight 


of  these,  the  five  daily  sacrifices  (inahayajnd)  and  some 
other  "  baked  offerings "  (pakayajna),  form  part  of  the 
Grihya  ceremonies,  the  rest  belonging  to  the  (^rauta 

The  first  of  the  sacraments  is  the  pumsavana  or 
ceremony  aiming  at  the  obtainment  of  a  son.  The 
most  common  expedient  prescribed  is  the  pounded 
shoot  of  a  banyan  tree  placed  in  the  wife's  right  nostril. 
After  the  birth-rites  (jdta  -  karma),  the  ceremony  of 
giving  the  child  its  names  {ndma-karand)  takes  place, 
generally  on  the  tenth  day  after  birth.  Two  are  given, 
one  being  the  "  secret  name,"  known  only  to  the  parents, 
as  a  protection  against  witchcraft,  the  other  for  com- 
mon use.  Minute  directions  are  given  as  to  the  quality 
of  the  name  ;  for  instance,  that  it  should  contain  an 
even  number  of  syllables,  begin  with  a  soft  letter,  and 
have  a  semi-vowel  in  the  middle ;  that  for  a  Brahman 
it  should  end  in  -qarman,  for  a  Kshatriya  in  -varmany 
and  a  Vaicya  in  -gupta.  Generally  in  the  third  year 
takes  place  the  ceremony  of  tonsure  (chuda-karand), 
when  the  boy's  hair  was  cut,  one  or  more  tufts  being 
left  on  the  top,  so  that  his  hair  might  be  worn  after 
the  fashion  prevailing  in  his  family.  In  the  sixteenth 
year  the  rite  of  shaving  the  beard  was  performed.  Its 
name,  go-ddna,  or  "gift  of  cows,"  is  due  to  the  fee  usually 
having  been  a  couple  of  cattle. 

By  far  the  most  important  ceremony  of  boyhood 
was  that  of  apprenticeship  to  a  teacher  or  initiation 
(upanayand),  which  in  the  case  of  a  Brahman  may  take 
place  between  the  eighth  and  sixteenth  year,  but  a 
few  years  later  in  the  case  of  the  Kshatriya  and  the 
Vaicya.  On  this  occasion  the  youth  receives  a  staff, 
a  garment,  a  girdle,  and  a  cord  worn  over  one  shoulder 


and  under  the  other  arm.  The  first  is  made  of  different 
wood,  the  others  of  different  materials  according  to 
caste.  The  sacred  cord  is  the  outward  token  of  the 
Arya  or  member  of  one  of  the  three  highest  castes, 
and  by  investiture  with  it  he  attains  his  second  birth, 
being  thenceforward  a  "  twice-born  "  man  {dvi-jd).  The 
spiritual  significance  of  this  initiation  is  the  right  to 
study  the  Veda,  and  especially  to  recite  the  most  sacred 
of  prayers,  the  Sdvitrl.  In  this  ceremony  the  teacher 
{achdryd)  who  initiates  the  young  Brahman  is  regarded 
as  his  spiritual  father,  and  the  Sdvitri  as  his  mother. 

The  rite  of  upanayana  is  still  practised  in  India.  It 
is  based  on  a  very  old  custom.  The  Avestan  ceremony 
of  investing  the  boy  of  fifteen  with  a  sacred  cord  upon 
his  admission  into  the  Zoroastrian  community  shows 
that  it  goes  back  to  Indo-Iranian  times.  The  preva- 
lence among  primitive  races  all  over  the  world  of  a  rite 
of  initiation,  regarded  as  a  second  birth,  upon  the 
attainment  of  manhood,  indicates  that  it  was  a  still 
older  custom,  which  in  the  Brahman  system  became 
transformed  into  a  ceremony  of  admission  to  Vedic 

Besides  his  studies,  the  course  of  which  is  regulated 
by  detailed  rules,  the  constant  duties  of  the  pupil  are 
the  collection  of  fuel,  the  performance  of  devotions  at 
morning  and  evening  twilight,  begging  food,  sleeping 
on  the  ground,  and  obedience  to  his  teacher. 

At  the  conclusion  of  religious  studentship  {brahma- 
charya)>  which  lasted  for  twelve  years,  or  till  the  pupil 
had  mastered  his  Veda,  he  performs  the  rite  of  return 
{samdvartana),  the  principal  part  of  which  is  a  bath, 
with  which  he  symbolically  washes  off  his  apprentice- 
ship.    He  is  now  a  sndtaka  ("one  who  has  bathed"), 


and  soon  proceeds  to  the  most  important  sacrament 
of  his  life,  marriage.  The  main  elements  of  this  cere- 
mony doubtless  go  back  to  the  Indo-European  period, 
and  belong  rather  to  the  sphere  of  witchcraft  than  of 
the  sacrificial  cult.  The  taking  of  her  hand  placed 
the  bride  in  the  power  of  her  husband.  The  stone  on 
which  she  stepped  was  to  give  her  firmness.  The  seven 
steps  which  she  took  with  her  husband,  and  the  sacri- 
ficial food  which  she  shared  with  him,  were  to  inaugurate 
friendship  and  community.  Future  abundance  and 
male  offspring  were  prognosticated  when  she  had  been 
conducted  to  her  husband's  house,  by  seating  her  on 
the  hide  of  a  red  bull  and  placing  upon  her  lap  the 
son  of  a  woman  who  had  only  borne  living  male 
children.  The  god  most  closely  connected  with  the 
rite  was  Agni ;  for  the  husband  led  his  bride  three 
times  round  the  nuptial  fire — whence  the  Sanskrit  name 
for  wedding,  pari-naya,  "  leading  round  " — and  the  newly 
kindled  domestic  fire  was  to  accompany  the  couple 
throughout  life.  Offerings  are  made  to  it  and  Vedic 
formulas  pronounced.  After  sunset  the  husband  leads 
out  his  bride,  and  as  he  points  to  the  pole-star  and 
the  star  ArundhatI,  they  exhort  each  other  to  be  con- 
stant and  undivided  for  ever.  These  wedding  ceremonies, 
preserved  much  as  they  are  described  in  the  Sutras, 
are  still  widely  prevalent  in  the  India  of  to-day. 

All  the  above-mentioned  sacraments  are  exclusively 
meant  for  males,  the  only  one  in  which  girls  had  a  share 
being  marriage  (yivdha).  About  twelve  of  these  Sam- 
skdras  are  still  practised  in  India,  investiture  being  still 
the  most  important  next  to  marriage.  Some  of  the 
ceremonies  only  survive  in  a  symbolical  form,  as  those 
connected  with  religious  studentship. 


Among  the  most  important  duties  of  the  new  house- 
holder is  the  regular  daily  offering  of  the  five  great 
sacrifices  (mahd-yajna)f  which  are  the  sacrifice  to  the 
Veda  [brahma-yajnd],  or  Vedic  recitation  ;  the  offering 
to  the  gods  (deva-yajna)  of  melted  butter  in  fire  (Jiomd)  ; 
the  libation  (tarpana)  to  the  Manes  (pitri-yajna) ;  offer- 
ings (called  bait)  deposited  in  various  places  on  the 
ground  to  demons  and  all  beings  {bhuta-yajna)  ;  and  the 
sacrifice  to  men  (manushya-yajna),  consisting  in  hospi- 
tality, especially  to  Brahman  mendicants.  The  first  is 
regarded  as  by  far  the  highest ;  the  recitation  of  the 
sdvitrly  in  particular,  at  morning  and  evening  worship, 
is  as  meritorious  as  having  studied  the  Veda.  All  these 
five  daily  sacrifices  are  still  in  partial  use  among  orthodox 

There  are  other  sacrifices  which  occur  periodically. 
Such  are  the  new  and  full  moon  sacrifices,  in  which, 
according  to  the  Grihya  ritual,  a  baked  offering  {pdka- 
yajna)  is  made,  while,  according  to  the  (^rauta  ceremony, 
cakes  (j>urodd$a)  are  offered.  There  is,  further,  at  the 
beginning  of  the  rains  an  offering  made  to  serpents, 
when  the  use  of  a  raised  bed  is  enjoined,  owing  to  the 
danger  from  snakes  at  that  time.  Various  ceremonies 
are  connected  with  the  building  and  entering  of  a  new 
house.  Detailed  rules  are  given  about  the  site  as  well 
as  the  construction.  A  door  on  the  west  is,  for  instance, 
forbidden.  On  the  completion  of  the  house,  which  is 
built  of  wood  and  bamboo,  an  animal  is  sacrificed. 
Other  ceremonies  are  concerned  with  cattle ;  for  in- 
stance, the  release  of  a  young  bull  for  the  benefit  of 
the  community.  Then  there  are  agricultural  ceremonies, 
such  as  the  offering  of  the  first-fruits  and  rites  con- 
nected with  ploughing.     Mention  is  also  made  of  offer- 


ings  to  monuments  (chaityas)  erected  to  the  memory  of 
teachers.  There  are,  moreover,  directions  as  to  what  is 
to  be  done  in  case  of  evil  dreams,  bad  omens,  and 

Finally,  one  of.  the  most  interesting  subjects  with 
which  the  Grihya  Sutras  deal  is  that  of  funeral  rites 
(antyeshti)  and  the  worship  of  the  Manes.  All  but 
children  under  two  years  of  age  are  to  be  cremated. 
The  dead  man's  hair  and  beard  are  cut  off  and  his  nails 
trimmed,  the  body  being  anointed  with  nard  and  a 
wreath  being  placed  on  the  head.  Before  being  burnt 
the  corpse  is  laid  on  a  black  antelope  skin.  In  the  case 
of  a  Kshatriya,  his  bow  (in  that  of  a  Brahman  his  staff, 
of  a  Vaicya  his  goad)  is  taken  from  his  hand,  broken, 
and  cast  on  the  pyre,  while  a  cow  or  a  goat  is  burnt 
with  the  corpse.  Afterwards  a  purifying  ablution  is  per- 
formed by  all  relations  to  the  seventh  or  tenth  degree. 
They  then  sit  down  on  a  grassy  spot  and  listen  to  old 
stories  or  a  sermon  on  the  transitoriness  of  life  till  the 
stars  appear.  At  last,  without  looking  round,  they  return 
in  procession  to  their  homes,  where  various  observances 
are  gone  through.  A  death  is  followed  by  a  period  of 
impurity,  generally  lasting  three  days,  during  which  the 
relatives  are  required,  among  other  things,  to  sleep  on 
the  ground  and  refrain  from  eating  flesh.  On  the  night 
after  the  death  a  cake  is  offered  to  the  deceased,  and  a 
libation  of  water  is  poured  out ;  a  vessel  with  milk  and 
water  is  also  placed  in  the  open  air,  and  the  dead  man  is 
called  upon  to  bathe  in  it.  Generally  after  the  tenth  day 
the  bones  are  collected  and  placed  in  an  urn,  which  is 
buried  to  the  accompaniment  of  the  Rigvedic  verse, 
a Approach  thy  mother  earth"  (x.  18,  10). 

The  soul  is  supposed  to  remain  separated  from  the 


Manes  for  a  time  as  a  preta  or  "  ghost."  A  qrdddha,  or 
"  offering  given  with  faith  "  (graddhd),  of  which  it  is  the 
special  object  (ekoddishta),  is  presented  to  it  in  this  state, 
the  idea  being  that  it  would  otherwise  return  and  dis- 
quiet the  relatives.  Before  the  expiry  of  a  year  he  is 
admitted  to  the  circle  of  the  Manes  by  a  rite  which 
makes  him  their  sapinda  ("  united  by  the  funeral  cake  "). 
After  the  lapse  of  a  year  or  more  another  elaborate 
ceremony  (called  pitri-medha)  takes  place  in  connection 
with  the  erection  of  a  monument,  when  the  bones  are 
taken  out  of  the  urn  and  buried  in  a  suitable  place. 
There  are  further  various  general  offerings  to  the  Manes, 
or  grdddhasj  which  take  place  at  fixed  periods,  such  as 
that  on  the  day  of  new  moon  (pdrvana  $rdddha)y  while 
others  are  only  occasional  and  optional.  These  rites 
still  play  an  important  part  in  India,  well-to-do  families 
in  Bengal  spending  not  less  than  5000  to  6000  rupees 
on  their  first  grdddha. 

From  all  these  offerings  of  the  Grihya  ritual  are  to 
be  distinguished  the  two  regular  sacrifices  of  the  Crauta 
ritual,  the  one  called  Pinda-pitri-yajna  immediately  pre- 
ceding the  new-moon  sacrifice,  the  other  being  con- 
nected with  the  third  of  the  four-monthly  sacrifices. 

The  ceremonial  of  ancestor-worship  was  especially 
elaborated,  and  developed  a  special  literature  of  its  own, 
extending  from  the  Vedic  period  to  the  legal  Compendia 
of  the  Middle  Ages.  The  Qrdddha-kalpa  of  Hemadri 
comprises  upwards  of  1700  pages  in  the  edition  of  the 
Bibliotheca  Indica. 

The  above  is  the  briefest  possible  sketch  of  the 
abundant  material  of  the  Grihya  Sutras,  illustrating  the 
daily  domestic  life  of  ancient  India.  Perhaps,  how- 
ever, enough   has   been   said   to   show  that   they   have 


much  human  interest,  and  that  they  occupy  an  im- 
portant place  in  the  history  of  civilisation. 

The  second  branch  of  the  Sutra  literature,  based  on 
tradition  or  Smriti,  are  the  Dharma  Sutras,  which  deal 
with  the  customs  of  everyday  life  (sdmayachdrikd).  They 
are  the  earliest  Indian  works  on  law,  treating  fully  of  its 
religious,  but  only  partially  and  briefly  of  its  secular, 
aspect.  The  term  Dharma  Sutra  is,  strictly  speaking, 
applied  to  those  collections  of  legal  aphorisms  which 
form  part  of  the  body  of  Sutras  belonging  to  a  particular 
branch  (cdkhd)  of  the  Veda.  In  this  sense  only  three 
have  been  preserved,  all  of  them  attached  to  the  Tait- 
tirlya  division  of  the  Black  Yajurveda.  But  there  is  good 
reason  to  suppose  that  other  works  of  the  same  kind 
which  have  been  preserved,  or  are  known  to  have  existed, 
were  originally  also  attached  to  individual  Vedic  schools. 
That  Sutras  on  Dharma  were  composed  at  a  very  early 
period  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  Yaska,  who  dates  from 
near  the  beginning  of  the  Sutra  age,  quotes  legal  rules 
in  the  Sutra  style.  Indeed,  one  or  two  of  those  extant 
must  go  back  to  about  his  time. 

The  Dharma  Sutra  which  has  been  best  preserved, 
and  has  remained  free  from  the  influence  of  sectarians 
or  modern  editors,  is  that  of  the  Apastambas.  It  forms 
two  (28-29)  °f  *he  thirty  sections  of  the  great  Apastamba 
Kalpa  Sutra,  or  body  of  aphorisms  concerning  the  per- 
formance of  sacrifices  and  the  duties  of  the  three  upper 
classes.  It  deals  chiefly  with  the  duties  of  the  Vedic 
student  and  of  the  householder,  with  forbidden  food, 
purifications,  and  penances,  while,  on  the  secular  side, 
it  touches  upon  the  law  of  marriage,  inheritance,  and 
crime  only.  From  the  disapprobation  which  the  author 
expresses  for  a  certain  practice  of  the  people  of  the  North, 


it  may  be  inferred  that  he  belonged  to  the  South,  where 
his  school  is  known  to  have  been  settled  in  later  times. 
Owing  to  the  pre-Paninean  character  of  its  language 
and  other  criteria,  Biihler  has  assigned  this  Dharma 
Sutra  to  about  400  B.C. 

Very  closely  connected  with  this  work  is  the  Dharma 
Sutra  of  Hiranyakecin ;  for  the  differences  between  the 
two  do  not  go  much  beyond  varieties  of  reading.  In 
keeping  with  this  relationship  is  the  tradition  that  Hiran- 
yakecin branched  off  from  the  Apastambas  and  founded 
a  new  school  in  the  Konkan  country  on  the  south-west 
(about  Goa).  The  lower  limit  for  this  separation  from 
the  Apastambas  is  about  500  A.D.,  when  a  Hiranyakecin 
Brahman  is  mentioned  in  an  inscription.  The  main 
importance  of  this  Sutra  lies  in  its  confirming,  by  the 
parallelism  of  its  text,  the  genuineness  of  by  far  the 
greatest  part  of  Apastamba's  work.  It  forms  two  (26-27) 
of  the  twenty-nine  chapters  of  the  Kalpa  Sutra  belong- 
ing to  the  school  of  Hiranyakecin. 

The  third  Dharma  Sutra,  generally  styled  a  dharma- 
castra  in  the  MSS.,  is  that  of  Baudhayana.  Its  position, 
however,  within  the  Kalpa  Sutra  of  its  school  is  not  so 
fixed  as  in  the  two  previous  cases.  Its  subject-matter, 
when  compared  with  that  of  Apastamba's  Dharma 
Sutra,  indicates  that  it  is  the  older  of  the  two,  just  as 
the  more  archaic  and  awkward  style  of  Baudhayana' s 
Grihya  Sutra  shows  the  latter  to  be  earlier  than  the 
corresponding  work  of  Apastamba.  The  Baudhayana 
school  cannot  be  traced  at  the  present  day,  but  it 
appears  to  have  belonged  to  Southern  India,  where 
the  famous  Vedic  commentator  Sayana  was  a  member 
of  it  in  the  fourteenth  century.  The  subjects  dealt 
with  in  their  Dharma  Sutra  are  multifarious,  including 


the  duties  of  the  four  religious  orders,  the  mixed  castes, 
various  kinds  of  sacrifice,  purification,  penance,  auspi- 
cious ceremonies,  duties  of  kings,  criminal  justice,  exa- 
mination of  witnesses,  law  of  inheritance  and  marriage, 
the  position  of  women.  The  fourth  section,  which  is 
almost  entirely  composed  in  qlokas,  is  probably  a 
modern  addition,  and  even  the  third  is  of  somewhat 
doubtful  age. 

With  the  above  works  must  be  classed  the  well- 
preserved  law-book  of  Gautama.  Though  it  does  not 
form  part  of  a  Kalpa  Sutra,  it  must  at  one  time  have 
been  connected  with  a  Vedic  school  ;  for  the  Gautamas 
are  mentioned  as  a  subdivision  of  the  Ranayanlya 
branch  of  the  Sdmaveda)  and  Rumania's  statement  that 
Gautama's  treatise  originally  belonged  to  that  Veda  is 
confirmed  by  the  fact  that  its  twenty-sixth  section  is 
taken  word  for  word  from  the  Sdmavidhdna  Brdhmana, 
Though  entitled  a  Dharma  (^astra,  it  is  in  style  and 
character  a  regular  Dharma  Sutra.  It  is  composed 
entirely  in  prose  aphorisms,  without  any  admixture  of 
verse,  as  in  the  other  works  of  this  class.  Its  varied 
contents  resemble  and  are  treated  much  in  the  same 
way  as  those  of  the  Dharma  Sutra  of  Baudhayana. 
The  latter  has  indeed  been  shown  to  contain  passages 
based  on  or  borrowed  from  Gautama's  work,  which 
is  therefore  the  oldest  Dharma  Sutra  that  has  been 
preserved,  or  at  least  published,  and  can  hardly  date 
from  later  than  about  500  B.C. 

Another  work  of  the  Sutra  type,  and  belonging  to 
the  Vedic  period,  is  the  Dharma  Castra  of  Vasishtha. 
It  has  survived  only  in  inferior  MSS.,  and  without  the 
preserving  influence  of  a  commentary.  It  contains  thirty 
chapters  (ad/iydyas),  of  which    the    last   five   appear   to 


consist  for  the  most  part  of  late  additions.  Many  of 
the  Sutras,  not  only  here,  but  even  in  the  older  portions, 
are  hopelessly  corrupt.  The  prose  aphorisms  of  the 
work  are  intermingled  with  verse,  the  archaic  trishtubh 
metre  being  frequently  employed  instead  of  the  later 
clokas  of  Manu  and  others.  The  contents,  which  bear 
the  Dharma  Sutra  stamp,  produce  the  impression  of 
antiquity  in  various  respects.  Thus  here,  as  in  the 
Dharma  Sutra  of  Apastamba,  only  six  forms  of  marriage 
are  recognised,  instead  of  the  orthodox  eight.  Kumarila 
states  that  in  his  time  Vasishtha's  law-book,  while  ac- 
knowledged to  have  general  authority,  was  studied  by 
followers  of  the  Rigveda  only.  That  he  meant  the  pre- 
sent work  and  no  other,  is  proved  by  the  quotations 
from  it  which  he  gives,  and  which  are  found  in  the 
published  text.  As  Vasishtha,  in  citing  Vedic  Samhitas 
and  Sutras,  shows  a  predilection  for  works  belonging 
to  the  North  of  India,  it  is  to  be  inferred  that  he  or  his 
school  belonged  to  that  part.  Vasishtha  gives  a  quotation 
from  Gautama  which  appears  to  refer  to  a  passage  in 
the  extant  text  of  the  latter.  His  various  quotations 
from  Manu  are  derived,  not  from  the  later  famous 
law-book,  but  evidently  from  a  legal  Sutra  related  to 
our  Manu.  On  the  other  hand,  the  extant  text  of 
Manu  contains  a  quotation  from  Vasishtha  which 
actually  occurs  in  the  published  edition  of  the  latter. 
Hence  Vasishtha's  work  must  be  later  than  that  of 
Gautama,  and  earlier  than  that  of  Manu.  It  is  further 
probable  that  the  original  part  of  the  Sutra  of  a  school 
connected  with  the  Rigveda  and  belonging  to  the  North 
dates  from  a  period  some  centuries  before  our  era. 

Some    Dharma   Sutras   are   known  from   quotations 
only,  the  oldest  being  those  mentioned  in  other  Dharma 


Sutras.  Particular  interest  attaches  to  one  of  these,  the 
Sutra  of  Manu,  or  the  Manavas,  because  of  its  relation- 
ship to  the  famous  Mdnava  dharma  -  cdstr a.  Of  the 
numerous  quotations  from  it  in  Vasishtha,  six  are  found 
unaltered  or  but  slightly  modified  in  our  text  of  Manu. 
One  passage  cited  in  Vasishtha  is  composed  partly  in 
prose  and  partly  in  verse,  the  latter  portion  recurring  in 
Manu.  The  metrical  quotations  show  a  mixture  of 
trishtubh  and  cloka  verses,  like  other  Dharma  Sutras. 
These  quoted  fragments  probably  represent  a  Mdnava 
dharma-sutra  which  supplied  the  basis  of  our  Mdnava 
dharma-cdstra  or  Code  of  Manu, 

Fragments  of  a  legal  treatise  in  prose  and  verse, 
attributed  to  the  brothers  (^ankha  and  Likhita,  who 
became  proverbial  for  justice,  have  been  similarly  pre- 
served. This  work,  which  must  have  been  extensive, 
and  dealt  with  all  branches  of  law,  is  already  quoted  as 
authoritative  by  Paracara.  The  statement  of  Kumarila 
(700  A.D.)  that  it  was  connected  with  the  Vajasaneyin 
school  of  the  White  Yajurveda  is  borne  out  by  the 
quotations  from  it  which  have  survived. 

Sutras  need  not  necessarily  go  back  to  the  oldest 
period  of  Indian  law,  as  this  style  of  composition  was 
never  entirely  superseded  by  the  use  of  metre.  Thus 
there  is  a  Vaikhdnasa  dharma-sutra  in  lour  pracnas,  which, 
as  internal  evidence  shows,  cannot  be  earlier  than  the 
third  century  A.D.  It  refers  to  the  cult  of  Narayana 
(Vishnu),  and  mentions  Wednesday  by  the  name  of 
budha-vdra,  "day  of  Mercury."  It  is  not  a  regular 
Dharma  Sutra,  for  it  contains  nothing  connected  with 
law  in  the  strict  sense,  but  is  only  a  treatise  on  domestic 
law  (grihya-dharma).  It  deals  with  the  religious  duties 
of  the  four  orders  (dcramas),  especially  with  those  of  the 


forest  hermit.  For  it  is  with  the  latter  order  that  the 
Vaikhanasas,  or  followers  of  Vikhanas,  are  specially  con- 
nected. They  seem  to  have  been  one  of  the  youngest 
offshoots  of  the  Taittiiiya  school. 

Looking  back  on  the  vast  mass  of  ritual  and  usage 
regulated  by  the  Sutras,  we  are  tempted  to  conclude 
that  it  was  entirely  the  conscious  work  of  an  idle 
priesthood,  invented  to  enslave  and  maintain  in  spiritual 
servitude  the  minds  of  the  Hindu  people.  But  the  pro- 
gress of  research  tends  to  show  that  the  basis  even  of  the 
sacerdotal  ritual  of  the  Brahmans  was  popular  religious 
observances.  Otherwise  it  would  be  hard  to  understand 
how  Brahmanism  acquired  and  retained  such  a  hold  on 
the  population  of  India.  The  originality  of  the  Brah- 
mans consisted  in  elaborating  and  systematising  ob- 
servances which  they  already  found  in  existence.  This 
they  certainly  succeeded  in  doing  to  an  extent  unknown 

Comparative  studies  have  shown  that  many  ritual 
practices  go  back  to  the  period  when  the  Indians  and 
Persians  were  still  one  people.  Thus  the  sacrifice  was 
even  then  the  centre  of  a  developed  ceremonial,  and  was 
tended  by  a  priestly  class.  Many  terms  of  the  Vedic 
ritual  already  existed  then,  especially  soma,  which  was 
pressed,  purified  through  a  sieve,  mixed  with  milk,  and 
offered  as  the  main  libation.  Investiture  with  a  sacred 
cord  was,  as  we  have  seen,  also  known,  and  was  in  its 
turn  based  on  the  still  older  ceremony  of  the  initiation 
of  youths  on  entering  manhood.  The  offering  of  gifts 
to  the  gods  in  fire  is  Indo-European,  as  is  shown  by  the 
agreement  of  the  Greeks,  Romans,  and  Indians.  Indo- 
European  also  is  that  part  of  the  marriage  ritual  in  which 
the  newly  wedded  couple  walk  round  the  nuptial  fire, 


the  bridegroom  presenting  a  burnt  offering  and  the 
bride  an  offering  of  grain  ;  for  among  the  Romans  also 
the  young  pair  walked  round  the  altar  from  left  to  right 
before  offering  bread  {far)  in  the  fire.  Indo-European, 
too,  must  be  the  practice  of  scattering  rice  or  grain  (as  a 
symbol  of  fertility)  over  the  bride  and  bridegroom,  as 
prescribed  in  the  Sutras  ;  for  it  is  widely  diffused  among 
peoples  who  cannot  have  borrowed  it.  Still  older  is  the 
Indian  ceremony  of  producing  the  sacrificial  fire  by  the 
friction  of  two  pieces  of  wood.  Similarly  the  practice  in 
the  construction  of  the  Indian  fire-altar  of  walling  up  in 
the  lowest  layer  of  bricks  the  heads  of  five  different 
victims,  including  that  of  a  man,  goes  back  to  an  ancient 
belief  that  a  building  can  only  be  firmly  erected  when  a 
man  or  an  animal  is  buried  with  its  foundations. 

Finally,  we  have  as  a  division  of  the  Sutras,  concerned 
with  religious  practice,  the  (^ulva  Sutras.  The  thirtieth 
and  last  praqna  of  the  great  Kalpa  Sutra  of  Apastamba  is 
a  treatise  of  this  class.  These  are  practical  manuals 
giving  the  measurements  necessary  for  the  construction 
of  the  vediy  of  the  altars,  and  so  forth.  They  show  quite 
an  advanced  knowledge  of  geometry,  and  constitute  the 
oldest  Indian  mathematical  works. 

The  whole  body  of  Vedic  works  composed  in  the 
Sutra  style,  is  according  to  the  Indian  traditional  view, 
divided  into  six  classes  called  Vedangas  ("members  of 
the  Veda  ").  These  are  qikshd,  or  phonetics  ;  chhandas, 
or  metre ;  vydkaraiia,  or  grammar ;  niruktay  or  etymology ; 
kalpa,  or  religious  practice  ;  and  jyotisha,  or  astronomy. 
The  first  four  were  meant  as  aids  to  the  correct  reciting 
and  understanding  of  the  sacred  texts  ;  the  last  two  deal 
with  religious  rites  or  duties,  and  their  proper  seasons. 
They  all  have  their  origin  in  the  exigencies  of  religion, 


and  the  last  four  furnish  the  beginnings  or  (in  one  case) 
the  full  development  of  five  branches  of  science  that 
flourished  in  the  post-Vedic  period.  In  the  fourth  and 
sixth  group  the  name  of  the  class  has  been  applied  to 
designate  a  particular  work  representing  it. 

Of  kalpa  we  have  already  treated  at  length  above. 
No  work  representing  astronomy  has  survived  from  the 
Vedic  period  ;  for  the  Vedic  calendar,  called  jyotisha,  the 
two  recensions  of  which  profess  to  belong  to  the  Rigveda 
and  Yajurveda  respectively,  dates  from  far  on  in  the 
post-Vedic  age. 

The  Taittirlya  Aranyaka  (vii.  1)  already  mentions 
qikshdy  or  phonetics,  a  subject  which  even  then  appears 
to  have  dealt  with  letters,  accents,  quantity,  pronuncia- 
tion, and  euphonic  rules.  Several  works  bearing  the 
title  of  qikshd  have  been  preserved,  but  they  are  only 
late  supplements  of  Vedic  literature.  They  are  short 
manuals  containing  directions  for  Vedic  recitation  and 
correct  pronunciation.  The  earliest  surviving  results 
of  phonetic  studies  are  of  course  the  Samhita  texts  of 
the  various  Vedas,  which  were  edited  in  accordance  with 
euphonic  rules.  A  further  advance  was  made  by  the 
constitution  of  the  pada-pdthay  or  word-text  of  the  Vedas, 
which,  by  resolving  the  euphonic  combinations  and 
giving  each  word  (even  the  parts  of  compounds)  separ- 
ately, in  its  original  form  unmodified  by  phonetic  rules, 
furnished  a  basis  for  all  subsequent  studies.  Yaska, 
Panini,  and  other  grammarians  do  not  always  accept 
the  analyses  of  the  Padapdthas  when  they  think  they 
understand  a  Vedic  form  better.  Patanjali  even  directly 
contests  their  authoritativeness.  The  treatises  really 
representative  of  Vedic  phonetics  are  the  Praticakhyas, 
which    are   directly   connected   with    the    Samhita    and 


Padapdtha.  It  is  their  object  to  determine  the  relation  of 
these  to  each  other.  In  so  doing  they  furnish  a  systematic 
account  of  Vedic  euphonic  combination,  besides  adding 
phonetic  discussions  to  secure  the  correct  recitation  of 
the  sacred  texts.  They  are  generally  regarded  as  anterior 
to  Panini,  who  shows  unmistakable  points  of  contact 
with  them.  It  is  perhaps  more  correct  to  suppose  that 
Panini  used  the  present  Praticakhyas  in  an  older  form, 
as,  whenever  he  touches  on  Vedic  sandhiy  he  is  always 
less  complete  in  his  statements  than  they  are,  while  the 
Praticakhyas,  especially  that  of  the  Atharva-veday  are  de- 
pendent on  the  terminology  of  the  grammarians.  Four 
of  these  treatises  have  been  preserved  and  published. 
One  belongs  to  the  Rigveda,  another  to  the  Atharva-,  and 
two  to  the  Yajur-veda,  being  attached  to  the  Vdjasaneyi 
and  the  Taittirlya  Samhitd  respectively.  They  are  so 
called  because  intended  for  the  use  of  each  respective 
branch  (cdkha)  of  the  Vedas. 

The  Prdticdkhya  Sutra  of  the  Rigveda  is  an  extensive 
metrical  work  in  three  books,  traditionally  attributed  to 
(^aunaka,  the  teacher  of  Acvalayana  ;  it  may,  however, 
in  its  present  form  only  be  a  production  of  the  school  of 
(^aunaka.  This  Praticakhya  was  later  epitomised,  with 
the  addition  of  some  supplementary  matter,  in  a  short 
treatise  entitled  Upalekha.  The  Taittirlya  Praticakhya  is 
particularly  interesting  owing  to  the  various  peculiar 
names  of  teachers  occurring  among  the  twenty  which  it 
mentions.  The  Vdjasaneyi Prdticdkhyay'm  eight  chapters, 
names  Katyayana  as  its  author,  and  mentions  (Jaunaka 
among  other  predecessors.  The  Atharva-veda  Prdti- 
cdkhya,  in  four  chapters,  belonging  to  the  school  of  the 
(Jaunakas,  is  more  grammatical  than  the  other  works  of 
this  class. 


Metre,  to  which  there  are  many  scattered  references 
in  the  Brahmanas,  is  separately  treated  in  a  section  of 
the  ^dnkhdyana  ^rauta  Sutra  (7,  27),  in  the  last  three  sec- 
tions (patalas)  of  the  Rigveda  Prdticdkhyay  and  especially 
in  the  Niddna  Sutra,  which  belongs  to  the  Sdmaveda,  A 
part  of  the  Chhandah  Sutra  of  Pingala  also  deals  with 
Vedic  metres  ;  but  though  it  claims  to  be  a  Vedanga,  it 
is  in  reality  a  late  supplement,  dealing  chiefly  with  post- 
Vedic  prosody,  on  which,  indeed,  it  is  the  standard 

Finally,  Katyayana's  two  Anukramanis  or  indices, 
mentioned  below,  each  contains  a  section,  varying  but 
slightly  from  the  other,  on  Vedic  metres.  These  sec- 
tions are,  however,  almost  identical  in  matter  with  the 
sixteenth  patala  of  the  Rigveda  Prdticdkhyay  and  may 
possibly  be  older  than  the  corresponding  passage  in 
the  Prdticdkhyay  though  the  latter  work  as  a  whole  is 
doubtless  anterior  to  the  Anukratnanu 

The  Padapdthas  show  that  their  authors  had  not  only 
made  investigations  as  to  pronunciation  and  Sandhi,  but 
already  knew  a  good  deal  about  the  grammatical  analysis 
of  words  ;  for  they  separate  both  the  parts  of  compounds 
and  the  prefixes  of  verbs,  as  well  as  certain  suffixes  and 
terminations  of  nouns.  They  had  doubtless  already  dis- 
tinguished the  four  parts  of  speech  (jpadajdtdni),  though 
these  are  first  mentioned  by  Yaska  as  ndmany  or  "  noun  " 
(including  sarva-ndmany  "representing  all  nouns"  or 
" pronouns"),  dkhydtay  "predicate,"  i.e.  "verb";  upa- 
sargay  "  supplement,"  i.e.  "  preposition  "  ;  '  nipdtay  "  inci- 
dental addition,"  i.e.  "  particle."  It  is  perhaps  to  the 
separation  of  these  categories  that  the  name  for  gram- 
mar, vydkaranay  originally  referred,  rather  than  to  the 
analysis  of  words.     Even  the  Brahmanas  bear  evidence 


of  linguistic  investigations,  for  they  mention  various 
grammatical  terms,  such  as  "letter"  (varna),  "  mascu- 
line" (vrishari),  "number"  (vachana),  "case-form"  {vi- 
bhakti).  Still  more  such  references  are  to  be  found  in 
the  Aranyakas,  the  Upanishads,  and  the  Sutras.  But  the 
most  important  information  we  have  of  pre-Paninean 
grammar  is  that  found  in  Yaska's  work. 

Grammatical  studies  must  have  been  cultivated  to  a 
considerable  extent  before  Yaska's  time,  for  he  dis- 
tinguishes a  Northern  and  an  Eastern  school,  besides 
mentioning  nearly  twenty  predecessors,  among  whom 
Cakatayana,  Gargya,  and  (Jakalya  are  the  most  important. 
By  the  time  of  Yaska  grammarians  had  learned  to  dis- 
tinguish clearly  between  the  stem  and  the  formative 
elements  of  words;  recognising  the  personal  terminations 
and  the  tense  affixes  of  the  verb  on  the  one  hand,  and 
primary  (krii)  or  secondary  {taddhitd)  nominal  suffixes  on 
the  other.  Yaska  has  an  interesting  discussion  on  the 
theory  of  Cakatayana,  which  he  himself  follows,  that  nouns 
are  derived  from  verbs.  Gargya  and  some  other  gram- 
marians, he  shows,  admit  this  theory  in  a  general  way, 
but  deny  that  it  is  applicable  to  all  nouns.  He  criti- 
cises their  objections,  and  finally  dismisses  them  as 
untenable.  On  (^akatayana's  theory  of  the  verbal  origin 
of  nouns  the  whole  system  of  Panini  is  founded.  The 
sutra  of  that  grammarian  contains  hundreds  of  rules 
dealing  with  Vedic  forms ;  but  these  are  of  the  nature 
of  exceptions  to  the  main  body  of  his  rules,  which  are 
meant  to  describe  the  Sanskrit  language.  His  work 
aimost  entirely  dominates  the  subsequent  literature. 
Though  belonging  to  the  middle  of  the  Sutra  period, 
it  must  be  regarded  as  the  definite  starting-point  of  the 
post-Vedic  age.     Coming  to  be  regarded  as  an  infallible 


authority,  Panini  superseded  all  his  predecessors,  whose 
works  have  consequently  perished.  Yaska  alone  survives, 
and  that  only  because  he  was  not  directly  a  grammarian ; 
for  his  work  represents,  and  alone  represents,  the  Vedanga 

Yaska's  Nirukta  is  in  reality  a  Vedic  commentary, 
and  is  older  by  some  centuries  than  any  other  exegetical 
work  preserved  in  Sanskrit.  Its  bases  are  the  Nighantus, 
collections  of  rare  or  obscure  Vedic  words,  arranged  for 
the  use  of  teachers.  Yaska  had  before  him  five  such 
collections.  The  first  three  contain  groups  of  synonyms, 
the  fourth  specially  difficult  words,  and  the  fifth  a  classi- 
fication of  the  Vedic  gods.  These  Yaska  explained  for 
the  most  part  in  the  twelve  books  of  his  commentary 
(to  which  two  others  were  added  later).  In  so  doing 
he  adduces  as  examples  a  large  number  of  verses,  chiefly 
from  the  Rigveda,  which  he  interprets  with  many  etymo- 
logical remarks. 

The  first  book  is  an  introduction,  dealing  with  the 
principles  of  grammar  and  exegesis.  The  second  and 
third  elucidate  certain  points  in  the  synonymous  nighan- 
tus ;  Books  IV.-VI.  comment  on  the  fourth  section,  and 
VII.-XII.  on  the  fifth.  The  Nirukta,  besides  being  very 
important  from  the  point  of  view  of  exegesis  and  gram- 
mar, is  highly  interesting  as  the  earliest  specimen  of 
Sanskrit  prose  of  the  classical  type,  considerably  earlier 
than  Panini  himself.  Yaska  already  uses  essentially  the 
same  grammatical  terminology  as  Panini,  employing, 
for  instance,  the  same  words  for  root  (d/zdtu),  primary, 
and  secondary  suffixes.  But  he  must  have  lived  a  long 
time  before  Panini ;  for  a  considerable  number  of  impor- 
tant grammarians'  names  are  mentioned  between  them. 
Yaska  must,  therefore,  go  back  to  the  fifth  century,  and 


undoubtedly  belongs  to  the  beginning  of  the  Sutra 

One  point  of  very  great  importance  proved  by  the 
Nirukta  is  that  the  Rigveda  had  a  very  fixed  form  in 
Yaska's  time,  and  was  essentially  identical  with  our  text. 
His  deviations  are  very  insignificant.  Thus  in  one  pas- 
sage (X.  29.  1)  he  reads  vdyo  as  one  word,  against  vd  yd 
as  two  words  in  (^akalya's  Pada  text.  Yaska's  para- 
phrases show  that  he  also  occasionally  differed  from 
the  Samhita  text,  though  the  quotations  themselves 
from  the  Rigveda  have  been  corrected  so  as  to  agree 
absolutely  with  the  traditional  text.  But  these  slight 
variations  are  probably  due  to  mistakes  in  the  Nirukta 
rather  than  to  varieties  of  reading  in  the  Rigveda,  There 
are  a  few  insignificant  deviations  of  this  kind  even  in 
Sayana,  but  they  are  always  manifestly  oversights  on  the 
part  of  the  commentator. 

To  the  Sutras  is  attached  a  very  extensive  literature 
of  Paricishtas  or  "supplements,"  which  seem  to  have 
existed  in  all  the'  Vedic  schools.  They  contain  details 
on  matters  only  touched  upon  in  the  Sutras,  or  supple- 
mentary information  about  subjects  not  dealt  with  at  all 
by  them.  Thus,  there  is  the  Acvaldyana  Grihya-paricishta, 
in  four  chapters,  connected  with  the  Rigveda.  The  Go- 
bhila  samgraha-paricishta  is  a  compendium  of  Grihya  prac- 
tices in  general,  with  a  special  leaning  towards  magical 
rites,  which  came  to  be  attached  to  the  Sdmaveda.  Closely 
related  to,  and  probably  later  than  this  work,  is  the 
Karma-pradlpa  ("lamp  of  rites"),  also  variously  called 
sdma-grihya-  or  chhandogyagrihya-paricishta,  chhandoga- 
paricishta,  Gobhila-smriti,  attributed  to  the  Katyayana 
of  the  White  Yajurveda  or  to  Gobhila.  It  deals  with 
the  same  subjects,  though  independently,  as  the  Grihya 


samgraha}  with  which    it  occasionally  agrees   in  whole 

Of  great  importance  for  the  understanding  of  the 
sacrificial  ceremonial  are  the  Prayogas  ("  Manuals")  and 
Paddhatis  ("  Guides  ")f  of  which  a  vast  number  exist  in 
manuscript.  These  works  represent  both  the  (Jrauta 
and  the  Grihya  ritual  according  to  the  various  schools. 
The  Prayogas  describe  the  course  of  each  sacrifice  and 
the  functions  of  the  different  groups  of  priests,  solely 
from  the  point  of  view  of  practical  performance,  while 
the  Paddhatis  rather  follow  the  systematic  accounts  of 
the  Sutras  and  sketch  their  contents.  There  are  also 
versified  accounts  of  the  ritual  called  Kdrikds,  which 
are  directly  attached  to  Sutras  or  to  Paddhatis.  The 
oldest  of  them  appears  to  be  the  Kdrikd  of  Kumarila 
(c.  700  A.D.). 

Of  a  supplementary  character  are  also  the  class  of 
writings  called  Anukramanls  or  Vedic  Indices,  which 
give  lists  of  the  hymns,  the  authors,  the  metres,  and 
the  deities  in  the  order  in  which  they  occur  in  the 
various  Samhitas.  To  the  Rigveda  belonged  seven  of 
these  works,  all  attributed  to  (^aunaka,  and  composed 
in  the  mixture  of  the  cloka  and  trishtubh  metre,  which 
is  also  found  in  (^aunaka's  Rigveda  Prdticdkhya.  There 
is  also  a  General  Index  or  Sarvdnukramani  which  is 
attributed  to  Katyayana,  and  epitomises  in  the  Sutra  style 
the  contents  of  the  metrical  indices.  Of  the  metrical 
indices  five  have  been  preserved.  The  Arshdnukramani, 
containing  rather  less  than  300  c/okas,  gives  a  list  of 
the  Rishis  or  authors  of  the  Rigveda.  Its  present  text 
represents  a  modernised  form  of  that  which  was  known 
to  the  commentator  Shadgurucjshya  in  the  twelfth 
century.     The    Chhandonukramani,    which    is   of   almost 


exactly  the  same  length,  enumerates  the  metres  in 
which  the  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  are  composed.  It 
also  states  for  each  book  the  number  of  verses  in 
each  metre  as  well  as  the  aggregate  in  all  metres.  The 
Anuvdkdnukramani  is  a  short  index  containing  only 
about  forty  verses.  It  states  the  initial  words  of  each  of 
the  eighty-five  anuvdkas  or  lessons  into  which  the  Rig- 
veda is  divided,  and  the  number  of  hymns  contained  in 
these  anuvdkas.  It  further  states  that  the  Rigveda  con- 
tains 1017  hymns  (or  1025  according  to  the  Vashkala 
recension),  10,580!  verses,  153,826  words,  432,000 
syllables,  besides  some  other  statistical  details.  The 
number  of  verses  given  does  not  exactly  tally  with 
various  calculations  that  have  recently  been  made,  but 
the  differences  are  only  slight,  and  may  be  due  to  the 
way  in  which  certain  repeated  verses  were  counted  by 
the  author  of  the  index. 

There  is  another  short  index,  known  as  yet  only  in 
two  MSS.,  called  the  Pdddnukramam,  or  "index  of  lines" 
(flddas),  and  composed  in  the  same  mixed  metre  as  the 
others.  The  Suktdnukramaniy  which  has  not  survived, 
and  is  only  known  by  name,  probably  consisted  only 
of  the  initial  words  {pratikas)  of  the  hymns.  It  probably 
perished  because  the  Sarvdnukramanl  would  have  ren- 
dered such  a  work  superfluous.  No  MS.  of  the  Devatdnu- 
kramanl  or  "  Index  of  gods  "  exists,  but  ten  quotations 
from  it  have  been  preserved  by  the  commentator 
Shadgurugishya.  It  must  have  been  superseded  by  the 
Brihaddevatd,  an  index  of  the  "many  gods,"  a  much 
more  extensive  work  than  any  of  the  other  Anukramanls, 
as  it  contains  about  1200  clokas  interspersed  with  occa- 
sional trishtubhs.  It  is  divided  into  eight  adhydyas  cor- 
responding to  the  ashfakas  of  the  Rigveda.     Following 


the  order  of  the  Rigveda,  its  main  object  is  to  state  the 
deity  for  each  verse.  But  as  it  contains  a  large  number 
of  illustrative  myths  and  legends,  it  is  of  great  value  as 
an  early  collection  of  stories.  It  is  to  a  considerable 
extent  based  on  Yaska's  Nirukta.  Besides  Yaska  himself 
and  other  teachers  named  by  that  scholar,  it  also  men- 
tions Bhaguri  and  Acvalayana  as  well  as  the  Niddna 
Sutra.  A  peculiarity  of  this  work  is  that  it  refers  to  a 
number  of  supplementary  hymns  (kkilas)  which  do  not 
form  part  of  the  canonical  text  of  the  Rigveda. 

Later,  at  least,  than  the  original  form  of  these 
metrical  Anukramanls,  is  the  Sarvdnukramanfoi  KAtya- 
yana,  which  combines  the  data  contained  in  them  within 
the  compass  of  a  single  work.  Composed  in  the  Sutra 
style,  it  is  of  considerable  length,  occupying  about  forty- 
six  pages  in  the  printed  edition.  For  every  hymn  in 
the  Rigveda  it  states  the  initial  word  or  words,  the 
number  of  its  verses,  as  well  as  the  author,  the  deity, 
and  the  metre,  even  for  single  verses.  There  is  an  in- 
troduction in  twelve  sections,  nine  of  which  form  a 
short  treatise  on  Vedic  metres  corresponding  to  the 
last  three  sections  of  the  Rigveda  Prdticdkhya.  The 
author  begins  with  the  statement  that  he  is  going  to 
supply  an  index  of  the  pratlkas  and  so  forth  of  the 
Rigveda  according  to  the  authorities  (yathopadecam), 
because  without  such  knowledge  the  (^rauta  and  Smarta 
rites  cannot  be  accomplished.  These  authorities  are 
doubtless  the  metrical  indices  described  above.  For 
the  text  of  the  Sarvdnukramani,  which  is  composed  in 
a  concise  Sutra  style,  not  only  contains  some  metrical 
lines  (pddas),  but  also  a  number  of  passages  either 
directly  taken  from  the  Arshdnukramani  and  the  Brihad- 
devatd,    or   with    their    metrical    wording    but    slightly 


altered.  Another  metrical  work  attributed  to  (Jaunaka 
is  the  Rigvidhdnay  which  describes  the  magical  effects 
produced  by  the  recitation  of  hymns  or  single  verses 
of  the  Rigveda. 

To  the  Paricishtas  of  the  Sdmaveda  belong  the  two 
indices  called  Arsha  and  Daivata,  enumerating  respec- 
tively the  Rishis  and  deities  of  the  text  of  the  Naigeya 
branch  of  the  Sdmaveda,  They  quote  Yaska,  (^aunaka, 
and  Ac^valayana  among  others.  There  are  also  two 
Anukramanls  attached  to  the  Black  Yajurveda.  That  of 
the  Atreya  school  consists  of  two  parts,  the  first  of 
which  is  in  prose,  and  the  second  in  clokas.  It  contains 
little  more  than  an  enumeration  of  names  referring  to 
the  contents  of  its  Samhita.  The  Anukramani  of  the 
Charayaniya  school  of  the  Kdthaka  is  an  index  of  the 
authors  of  the  various  sections  and  verses.  Its  state- 
ments regarding  passages  derived  from  the  Rigveda  differ 
much  from  those  of  the  Sarv anukramani  of  the  Rigveday 
giving  a  number  of  totally  new  names.  It  claims  to  be 
the  work  of  Atri,  who  communicated  it  to  Laugakshi. 
The  Anukramani  of  the  White  Yajurveda  in  the  Ma- 
dhyamdina  recension,  attributed  to  Katyayana,  consists  of 
five  sections.  The  first  four  are  an  index  of  authors, 
deities,  and  metres.  The  authors  of  verses  taken  from 
the  Rigveda  generally  agree  with  those  in  the  Sarvauu- 
kratnanu  There  are,  however,  a  good  many  exceptions, 
several  new  names  belonging  to  a  later  period,  some 
even  to  that  of  the  Qatapatha  Brahmana.  The  fifth  section 
gives  a  summary  account  of  the  metres  occurring  in  the 
text.  It  is  identical  with  the  corresponding  portion  of 
the  introduction  to  the  Sarvdnukramaniy  which  was  pro- 
bably the  original  position  of  the  section.  There  are 
many  other  Paricishtas  of  the  White  Yajurveda,  all  attri- 


buted  to  Katyayana.  Only  three  of  these  need  be 
mentioned  here.  The  Nigama-pariqishta,  a  glossary  of 
synonymous  words  occurring  in  the  White  Yajurveda, 
has  a  lexicographical  interest.  The  Pravarddhydyay  or 
u  Chapter  on  Ancestors/'  is  a  list  of  Brahman  families 
drawn  up  for  the  purpose  of  determining  the  forbidden 
degrees  of  relationship  in  marriage,  and  of  indicating  the 
priests  suitable  for  the  performance  of  sacrifice.  The 
Charana-vyiiha,  or  "  Exposition  of  the  Schools "  of  the 
various  Vedas,  is  a  very  late  work  of  little  importance, 
giving  a  far  less  complete  enumeration  of  the  Vedic 
schools  than  certain  sections  of  the  Vishnu-  and  the 
Vdyu-Purana.  There  is  also  a  Charana-vyiiha  among 
the  Paricishtas  of  the  Atkarva-veda,  which  number  up- 
wards of  seventy.  This  work  makes  the  statement  that 
the  Atharva  contains  2000  hymns  and  12,380  verses. 

In  concluding  this  account  of  Vedic  literature,  I 
cannot  omit  to  say  a  few  words  about  Sayana,  the  great 
mediaeval  Vedic  scholar,  to  whom  or  to  whose  initiation 
we  owe  a  number  of  valuable  commentaries  on  the  Rig- 
vedciy  the  Aitareya  Brdhmana  and  Aranyaka,  as  well  as 
the  Taittiriya  Samhitd,  Brdhmana,  and  Aranyaka,  besides 
a  number  of  other  works.  His  comments  on  the  two 
Samhitas  would  appear  to  have  been  only  partially  com- 
posed by  himself  and  to  have  been  completed  by  his  pupils. 
He  died  in  1387,  having  written  his  works  under  Bukka  I. 
(1350-79),  whose  teacher  and  minister  he  calls  himself, 
and  his  successor,  Harihara  (1379-99).  These  princes 
belonged  to  a  family  which,  throwing  off  the  Muham- 
madan  yoke  in  the  earlier  half  of  the  fourteenth  century, 
founded  the  dynasty  of  Vijayanagara  ("city  of  victory"), 
now  Hampi,  on  the  Tungabhadra,  in  the  Bellary  district. 
Sayana's  elder  brother,  Madhava,  was  minister  of  King 


Bukka,  and  died  as  abbot  of  the  monastery  of  (fringed, 
under  the  name  of  Vidyaranyasvamin.  Not  only  did  he 
too  produce  works  of  his  own,  but  Sayana's  com- 
mentaries, as  composed  under  his  patronage,  were 
dedicated  to  him  as  mddhavlyaf  or  ("  influenced  by 
Madhava ").  By  an  interesting  coincidence  Professor 
Max  M tiller's  second  edition  of  the  Rigveda,  with  the 
commentary  of  Sayana,  was  brought  out  under  the 
auspices  of  a  Maharaja  of  Vijayanagara.  The  latter  city 
has,  however,  nothing  to  do  with  that  from  which  King 
Bukka  derived  his  title. 


(Circa  500-50  B.C.) 

In  turning  from  the  Vedic  to  the  Sanskrit  period,  we 

are    confronted   with    a   literature   which    is   essentially 

different  from  that  of  the  earlier  age  in  matter,  spirit, 

and    form.      Vedic    literature    is    essentially    religious ; 

Sanskrit  literature,  abundantly  developed  in  every  other 

direction,  is  profane.     But,  doubtless  as  a  result  of  the 

speculative  tendencies  of  the  Upanishads,  a  moralising 

spirit  at  the  same  time  breathes  through  it  as  a  whole. 

The  religion  itself  which  now  prevails  is  very  different 

from  that  of  the  Vedic  age.      For  in  the  new  period 

the   three   great   gods,    Brahma,  Vishnu,  and   (^iva   are 

the  chief   objects    of  worship.      The   important   deities 

of  the  Veda  have  sunk  to  a  subordinate  position,  though 

Indra  is  still  relatively  prominent  as  the  chief  of  a  warrior's 

heaven.     Some  new  gods  of  lesser  rank  have  arisen,  such 

as  Kubera,  god  of   wealth  ;    Ganeca,  god  of   learning  ; 

Karttikeya,  god  of   war  ;    (Jrl  or    Lakshml,  goddess   of 

beauty   and    fortune ;    Durga    or    Parvati,   the    terrible 

spouse  of  (^iva ;  besides  the  serpent  deities  and  several 

classes  of  demigods  and  demons. 

While  the  spirit  of  Vedic  literature,   at   least  in   its 

earlier  phase,  is  optimistic,  Sanskrit  poetry  is  pervaded 

by    Weltschmerz,    resulting    from    the    now    universally 



accepted  doctrine  of  transmigration.  To  that  doctrine, 
according  to  which  beings  pass  by  gradations  from 
Brahma  through  men  and  animals  to  the  lowest  forms 
of  existence,  is  doubtless  also  largely  due  the  fantastic 
element  characteristic  of  this  later  poetry.  Here,  for 
instance,  we  read  of  Vishnu  coming  down  to  earth  in 
the  shape  of  animals,  of  sages  and  saints  wandering 
between  heaven  and  earth,  of  human  kings  visiting 
Indra  in  heaven. 

Hand  in  hand  with  this  fondness  for  introducing  the 
marvellous  and  supernatural  into  the  description  of  human 
events  goes  a  tendency  to  exaggeration.  Thus  King 
Vicvamitra,  we  are  told,  practised  penance  for  thousands 
of  years  in  succession;  and  the  power  of  asceticism  is 
described  as  so  great  as  to  cause  even  the  worlds  and 
the  gods  to  tremble.  The  very  bulk  of  the  Mahdbhdrata, 
consisting  as  it  does  of  more  than  200,000  lines,  is  a  con- 
crete illustration  of  this  defective  sense  of  proportion.    J 

As  regards  the  form  in  which  it  is  presented  to' us, 
Sanskrit  literature  contrasts  with  that  of  both  the  earlier 
and  the  later  Vedic  period.  While  prose  was  employed 
in  the  Yajurvedas  and  the  Brahmanas,  and  finally  attained 
to  a  certain  degree  of  development,  it  almost  disappears  in 
Sanskrit,  nearly  every  branch  of  literature  being  treated 
in  verse,  often  much  to  the  detriment  of  the  subject,  as 
in  the  case  of  law.  The  only  departments  almost  entirely 
restricted  to  the  use  of  prose  are  grammar  and  philosophy, 
but  the  cramped  and  enigmatical  style  in  which  these 
subjects  are  treated  hardly  deserves  the  name  of  prose 
at  all.  Literary  prose  is  found  only  in  fables,  fairy  tales, 
romances,  and  partially  in  the  drama.  In  consequence 
of  this  neglect,  the  prose  of  the  later  period  compares 
unfavourably  with  that  of   the  Brahmanas.      Even  the 


style  of  the  romances  or  prose  kdvyas,  subject  as  it  is  to 
the  strict  rules  of  poetics,  is  as  clumsy  as  that  of  the 
grammatical  commentaries;  for  the  use  of  immense  com- 
pounds, like  those  of  the  Sutras,  is  one  of  its  essential 

Sanskrit  literature,  then,  resembles  that  of  the  earlier 
Vedic  age  in  being  almost  entirely  metrical.  But  the 
metres  in  which  it  is  written,  though  nearly  all  based 
on  those  of  the  Veda,  are  different.  The  bulk  of  the 
literature  is  composed  in  the  qloka,  a  development  of 
the  Vedic  anushtubh  stanza  of  four  octosyllabic  lines ; 
but  while  all  four  lines  ended  iambically  in  the  proto- 
type, the  first  and  third  line  have  in  the  qloka  acquired 
a  trochaic  rhythm.  The  numerous  other  metres  em- 
ployed in  the  classical  poetry  have  become  much  more 
elaborate  than  their  Vedic  originals  by  having  the 
quantity  of  every  syllable  in  the  line  strictly  determined. 

The  style,  too,  excepting  the  two  old  epics,  is  In 
Sanskrit  poetry  made  more  artificial  by  the  frequent 
use  of  long  compounds,  as  well  as  by  the  application 
of  the  elaborate  rules  of  poetics,  while  the  language  is 
regulated  by  the  grammar  of  Panini.  Thus  classical 
Sanskrit  literature,  teeming  as  it  does  with  fantastic 
and  exaggerated  ideas,  while  bound  by  the  strictest 
rules  of  form,  is  like  a  tropical  garden  full  of  luxuriant 
and  rank  growth,  in  which,  however,  many  a  fair  flower 
of  true  poetry  may  be  culled.  ^_ 

It  is  impossible  even  for  the  Sanskrit  scholar  who 
has  not  lived  in  India  to  appreciate  fully  the  merits  of 
this  later  poetry,  much  more  so  for  those  who  can  only 
become  acquainted  with  it  in  translations.  For,  in  the 
first  place,  the  metres,  artificial  and  elaborate  though 
they  are,  have  a  beauty  of  their  own  which  cannot 


be  reproduced  in  other  languages.  ^\gain,  to  under- 
stand it  thoroughly,  the  reader  must  have  seen  the  tropical 
plains  and  forests  of  Hindustan  steeped  in  intense  sun- 
shine or  bathed  in  brilliant  moonlight ;  he  must  have 
viewed  the  silent  ascetic  seated  at  the  foot  of  the  sacred 
fig-tree ;  he  must  have  experienced  the  feelings  inspired 
by  the  approach  of  the  monsoon  ;  he  must  have  watched 
beast  and  bird  disporting  themselves  in  tank  and  river ; 
he  must  know  the  varying  aspects  of  Nature  in  the 
different  seasons  ;  in  short,  he  must  be  acquainted  with 
all  the  sights  and  sounds  of  an  Indian  landscape,  the 
mere  allusion  to  one  of  which  may  call  up  some  familiar 
scene  or  touch  some  chord  of  sentiment.  Otherwise, 
for  instance,  the  mango-tree,  the  red  Acoka,  the  orange 
Kadamba,  the  various  creepers,  the  different  kinds  of 
lotus,  the  mention  of  each  of  which  should  convey  a 
vivid  picture,  are  but  empty  names.  Without  a  know- 
ledge, moreover,  of  the  habits,  modes  of  thought,  and 
traditions  of  the  people,  much  must  remain  meaningless. 
But  those  who  are  properly  equipped  can  see  many 
beauties  in  classical  Sanskrit  poetry  which  are  entirely 
lost  to  others.  Thus  a  distinguished  scholar  known  to 
the  present  writer  has  entered  so  fully  into  the  spirit 
of  that  poetry,  that  he  is  unable  to  derive  pleasure  from 
any  other. 

It  would  be  a  mistake  to  suppose  that  Sanskrit 
literature  came  into  being  only  at  the  close  of  the  Vedic 
period,  or  that  it  merely  forms  its  continuation  and  de- 
velopment. As  a  profane  literature,  it  must,  in  its  earliest 
phases,  which  are  lost,  have  been  contemporaneous  with 
the  religious  literature  of  the  Vedas.  Beside  the  produc- 
tions of  the  latest  Vedic  period,  that  of  the  Upanishads 
and  Sutras,  there  grew  up,  on  the  one  hand,  the  rich 


Pali  literature  of  Buddhis^n,  and,  on  the  other,  the 
earliest  form  of  Sanskrit  poetry  in  the  shape  of  epic 
tales.  We  have  seen  that  even  the  Rigveda  contains 
some  hymns  of  a  narrative  character.  Later  we  find 
in  the  Brahmanas  a  number  of  short  legends,  mostly 
in  prose,  but  sometimes  partly  metrical,  as  the  story  of 
(Junahcepa  in  the  Aitareya.  Again,  the  Nirukta,  which 
must  date  from  the  fifth  century  B.C.,  contains  many 
prose  tales,  and  the  oldest  existing  collection  of  Vedic 
legend,  the  metrical  Brihaddevatd,  cannot  belong  to  a 
much  later  time. 

(Sanskrit  epic  poetry  falls  into  two  main  classes. 
That  which  comprises  old  stories  goes  by  the  name  of 
Itihdsa,  "  legend,"  Akhydna,  "  narrative,"  or  Purdna, 
"  ancient  tale,"  while  the  other  is  called  Kdvya  or  arti- 
ficial epic.  The  Mahdbhd7'ata  is  the  chief  and  oldest 
representative  of  the  former  group,  the  Rdmdyana  of 
the  latter.  j)Both  these  great  epics  are  composed  in  the 
same  form  of  the  qloka  metre  as-  that  employed  in 
classical  Sanskrit  poetry.  The  Mahdbhdrata,  however, 
also  contains,  as  remnants  of  an  older  phase,  archaic 
verses  in  the  upajdti  and  vamqastlia  (developments  of 
the  Vedic  trishtubh  and  jagatt)  metres,  besides  preserving 
some  old  prose  stories  in  what  is  otherwise  an  entirely 
metrical  work.  It  further  differs  from  the  sister  epic 
in  introducing  speeches  with  words,  such  as  "  Brihadacva 
spake,"  which  do  not  form  part  of  the  verse,  and  which 
may  be  survivals  of  prose  narrative  connecting  old  epic 
songs./  The  Rdmdyana,  again,  is,  in  the  main,  the  work 
of  a  single  poet,  homogeneous  in  plan  and  execution, 
composed  in  the  east  of  India.  The  Mahdbhdrata,  arising 
in  the  western  half  of  the  country,  is  a  congeries  of  parts, 
the  only  unity  about  which  is  the  connectedness  of  the 


epic  cycle  with  which  they  xleal ;  its  epic  kernel,  more- 
over, which  forms  only  about  one-fifth  of  the  whole 
work,  has  become  so  overgrown  with  didactic  matter, 
that  in  its  final  shape  it  is  not  an  epic  at  all,  but  an 
encyclopaedia  of  moral  teaching. 

The  Mahdbhdrata,  which  in  its  present  form  consists 
of  over  100,000  qlokasy  equal  to  about  eight  times  as 
much  as  the  Iliad  and  Odyssey  put  together,  is  by  far 
the  longest  poem  known  to  literary  history.  It  is  a 
conglomerate  of  epic  and  didactic  matter  divided  into 
eighteen  books  called  parvan,  with  a  nineteenth,  the 
Harivamga,  as  a  supplement.  The  books  vary  very  con- 
siderably in  length,  the  twelfth  being  the  longest,  with 
nearly  14,000,  the  seventeenth  the  shortest,  with  only 
312  g/okas.  All  the  eighteen  books,  excepting  the  eighth 
and  the  last  three,  are  divided  into  subordinate  parvans ; 
each  book  is  also  cut  up  into  chapters  (adkydyas). 

No  European  edition  of  the  whole  epic  has  yet 
been  undertaken.  This  remains  one  of  the  great  tasks 
reserved  for  the  future  of  Sanskrit  philology,  and  can 
only  be  accomplished  by  the  collaboration  of  several 
scholars.  There  are  complete  MSS.  of  the  Mahdbhdrata 
in  London,  Oxford,  Paris,  and  Berlin,  besides  many 
others  in  different  parts  of  India ;  while  the  number 
of  MSS.  containing  only  parts  of  the  poem  can  hardly 
be  counted. 

Three  main  editions  of  the  epic  have  appeared  in  India. 
The  editio  princeps,  including  the  Harivamga,  but  without 
any  commentary,  was  published  in  four  volumes  at 
Calcutta  in  1834-39.  Another  and  better  edition,  which 
has  subsequently  been  reproduced  several  times,  was 
printed  at  Bombay  in  1863.  This  edition,  though  not 
including  the  supplementary  book,  contains   the   com- 


mentary  of  Nllakantha.  These  two  editions  do  not 
on  the  whole  differ  considerably.  Being  derived  from 
a  common  source,  they  represent  one  and  the  same 
recension.  The  Bombay  edition,  however,  generally 
has  the  better  readings.  It  contains  about  200  glokas 
more  than  the  Calcutta  edition,  but  thes^  additions  are 
of  no  importance. 

A  third  edition,  printed  in  Telugu  characters,  was 
published  in  four  volumes  at  Madras  in  1855-60.  It 
includes  the  Harivamga  and  extracts  from  Nllakantha' s 
commentary.  This  edition  represents  a  distinct  South 
Indian  recension,  which  seems  to  differ  from  that  of 
the  North  about  as  much  as  the  three  recensions  of  the 
Rdmayana  do  from  one  another.  Both  recensions  are 
of  about  equal  length,  omissions  in  the  first  being  com- 
pensated by  others  in  the  second.  Sometimes  one  has 
the  better  text,  sometimes  the  other. 

The  epic  kernel  of  the  Mahdbhdrata,  or  the  "Great 
Battle  of  the  descendants  of  Bharata,"  consisting  of 
about  20,000  qlokasy  describes  the  eighteen  days'  fight 
between  Duryodhana,  leader  of  the  Kurus,  and  Yudhi- 
shthira,  chief  of  the  Pandus,  who  were  cousins,  both 
descended  from  King  Bharata,  son  of  (^akuntala.  Within 
this  narrative  frame  has  come  to  be  included  a  vast 
number  of  old  legends  about  gods,  kings,  and  sages  ; 
accounts  of  cosmogony  and  theogony ;  disquisitions  on 
philosophy,  law,  religion,  and  the  duties  of  the  military 
caste.  These  lengthy  and  heterogeneous  interpolations 
render  it  very  difficult  to  follow  the  thread  of  the 
narrative.  Entire  works  are  sometimes  inserted  to 
illustrate  a  particular  statement.  Thus,  while  the  two 
armies  are  drawn  up  prepared  for  battle,  a  whole 
philosophical   poem,  in  eighteen  cantos,  the  Bhagavad- 


gitd,  is  recited  to  the  hero  Arjuna,  who  hesitates  to 
advance  and  fight  against  his  kinT)  Hence  the  Maha- 
bhdrata  claims  to  be  not  only  a  heroic  poem  {kdvya\ 
but  a  compendium  teaching,  in  accordance  with  the 
Veda,  the  fourfold  end  of  human  existence  (spiritual 
merit,  wealth,  pleasure,  and  salvation),  a  smriti  or  work 
of  sacred  tradition,  which  expounds  the  whole  duty  of 
man,  and  is  intended  for  the  religious  instruction  of  all 
Hindus.  Thus,  in  one  (I.  lxii.  35)  of  many  similar  pas- 
sages, it  makes  the  statement  about  itself  that  "this 
collection  of  all  sacred  texts,  in  which  the  greatness  of 
cows  and  Brahmans  is  exalted,  must  be  listened  to  by 
virtuous-minded  men."  Its  title,  Kdrshna  Veda,  or 
"  Veda  of  Krishna "  (a  form  of  Vishnu),  the  occurrence 
of  a  famous  invocation  of  Narayana  and  Nara  (names 
of  Vishnu)  and  SarasvatI  (Vishnu's  wife)  at  the  beginning 
of  each  of  its  larger  sections,  and  the  prevalence  of 
Vishnuite  doctrines  throughout  the  work,  prove  it  to 
have  been  a  smriti  of  the  ancient  Vishnuite  sect  of  the 

Thus  it  is  clear  that  the  Mahdbhdrata  in  its  present 
shape  contains  an  epic  nucleus,  that  it  favours  the 
worship  of  Vishnu,  and  that  it  has  become  a  compre- 
hensive didactic  work.  We  further  find  in  Book  I.  the 
direct  statements  that  the  poem  at  one  time  contained 
24,000  qlokas  before  the  episodes  {itpdkhydnd)  were  added, 
that  it  originally  consisted  of  only  8800  g/okas,  and  that 
it  has  three  beginnings.  These  data  render  it  probable 
that  the  epic  underwent  three  stages  of  development 
from  the  time  it  first  assumed  definite  shape ;  and  this 
conclusion  is  corroborated  by  various  internal  and 
external  arguments. 

There  can  be  little  doubt  that  the  original  kernel  of 


the  epic  has  as  a  historical  background  an  ancient  con- 
flict between  the  two  neighbouring  tribes  of  the  Kurus 
and  Panchalas,  who  finally  coalesced  into  a  single 
people.  In  the  Yajurvedas  these  two  tribes  already 
appear  united,  and  in  the  Kdthaka  King  Dhritarashtra 
Vaichitravlrya,  one  of  the  chief  figures  of  the  Mahd- 
bhdratdj  is  mentioned  as  a  well-known  person.  Hence 
the  historical  germ  of  the  great  epic  is  to  be  traced  to 
a  very  early  period,  which  cannot  well  be  later  than  the 
tenth  century  B.C.  Old  songs  about  the  ancient  feud 
and  the  heroes  who  played  a  part  in  it,  must  have  been 
handed  down  by  word  of  mouth  and  recited  in  popular 
assemblies  or  at  great  public  sacrifices. 

These  disconnected  battle  -  songs  were,  we  must 
assume,  worked  up  by  some  poetic  genius  into  a  com- 
paratively short  epic,  describing  the  tragic  fate  of  the 
Kuru  race,  who,  with  justice  and  virtue  on  their  side, 
perished  through  the  treachery  of  the  victorious  sons 
of  Pandu,  with  Krishna  at  their  head.  To  the  period 
of  this  original  epic  doubtless  belong  the  traces  the 
Mahdbhdrata  has  preserved  unchanged  of  the  heroic 
spirit  and  the  customs  of  ancient  times,  so  different 
from  the  later  state  of  things  which  the  Mahdbhdrata 
as  a  whole  reflects.  To  this  period  also  belongs  the 
figure  of  Brahma  as  the  highest  god.  The  evidence  of 
Pali  literature  shows  that  Brahma  already  occupied  that 
position  in  Buddha's  time.  |  We  may,  then,  perhaps 
assume  that  the  original  form  of  our  epic  came  into 
being  about  the  fifth  century  B.C.  /The  oldest  evidence 
we  have  for  the  existence  of  tYTe^Mahdbhdrata  in  some 
shape  or  other  is  to  be  found  in  Acvalayana's  Grihya 
Sutra,  where  a  Bhdrata  and  Mahdbhdrata  are  mentioned. 
This  would  also  point  to  about  the  fifth  century  B.C. 


To  the  next  stage,  in  which  the  epic,  handed  down 
by  rhapsodists,  swelled  to  a  length  of  about  20,000  qlokas, 
belongs  the  representation  of  the  victorious  Pandus 
in  a  favourable  light,  and  the  introduction  on  a  level 
with  Brahma  of  the  two  other  great  gods,  (Jiva,  and 
especially  Vishnu,  of  whom  Krishna  appears  as  an  in- 

We  gather  from  the  account  of  Megasthenes  that 
about  300  B.C.,  these  two  gods  were  already  prominent, 
and  the  people  were  divided  into  (Jivaites  and  Vish- 
nuites.  Moreover,  the  Yavanas  or  Greeks  are  men- 
tioned in  the  Mahabharata  as  allies  of  the  Kurus,  and 
even  the  (Jakas  (Scythians)  and  Pahlavas  (Parthians) 
are  named  along  with  them ;  Hindu  temples  are  also 
referred  to  as  well  as  Buddhist  relic  mounds.  Thus 
an  extension  of  the  original  epic  must  have  taken  place 
after  300  B.C.  and  by  the  beginning  of  our  era. 

The  Brahmans  knew  how  to  utilise  the  great  influence 
of  the  old  epic  tradition  by  gradually  incorporating  didac- 
tic matter  calculated  to  impress  upon  the  people,  and 
especially  on  kings,  the  doctrines  of  the  priestly  caste. 
It  thus  at  last  assumed  the  character  of  a  vast  treatise 
on  duty  (dhartnd),  in  which  the  divine  origin  and  im- 
mutability of  Brahman  institutions,  the  eternity  of  the 
caste  system,  and  the  subordination  of  all  to  the  priests, 
are  laid  down.  When  the  Mahabharata  attributes  its 
origin  to  Vyasa,  it  implies  a  belief  in  a  final  redaction,, 
for  the  name  simply  means  "Arranger."  Dahlmann 
has  recently  put  forward  the  theory  that  the  great  epic 
was  a  didactic  work  from  the  very  outset ;  this  view, 
however,  appears  to  be  quite  irreconcilable  with  the  data 
of  the  poem,  and  is  not  likely  to  find  any  support 
among  scholars. 


What  evidence  have  we  as  to  when  the  Mahdbharata 
attained  to  the  form  in  which  we  possess  it  ?  There  is 
an  inscription  in  a  land  grant  dating  from  462  A.D.  or' 
at  the  latest  532  A.D.,  which  proves  incontrovertibly  that 
the  epic  about  500  A.D.  was  practically  of  exactly  the  same 
length  as  it  is  stated  to  have  in  the  survey  of  contents 
(anukramanika)  given  in  Book  I.,  and  as  it  actually  has 
now  ;  for  it  contains  the  following  words  :  "  It  has  been 
declared  in  the  Mahdbharata,  the  compilation  embracing 
100,000  verses,  by  the  highest  sage,  Vyasa,  the  Vyasa  of 
the  Vedas,  the  son  of  Paracara."  This  quotation  at  the 
same  time  proves  that  the  epic  at  that  date  included 
the  very  long  12th  and  13th,  as  well  as  the  extensive 
supplementary  book,  the  Harivamqa,  without  any  one 
of  which  it  would  have  been  impossible  to  speak  even 
approximately  of  100,000  verses.  There  are  also  several 
land  grants,  dated  between  450  and  500  A.D.,  and  found 
in  various  parts  of  India,  which  quote  the  Mahdbharata 
as  an  authority  teaching  the  rewards  of  pious  donors 
and  the  punishments  of  impious  despoilers.  This  shows 
that  in  the  middle  of  the  fifth  century  it  already  pos- 
sessed the  same  character  as  at  present,  that  of  a  Smriti 
or  Dharmacastra.  It  is  only  reasonable  to  suppose  that 
it  had  acquired  this  character  at  least  a  century  earlier, 
or  by  about  350  A.D.  Further  research  in  the  writ- 
ings of  the  Northern  Buddhists  and  their  dated  Chinese 
translations  will  probably  enable  us  to  put  this  date 
back  by  some  centuries.  We  are  already  justified  in 
considering  it  likely  that  the  great  epic  had  become 
a  didactic  compendium  before  the  beginning  of  our 
era.  In  any  case,  the  present  state  of  our  knowledge 
entirely  disproves  the  suggestions  put  forward  by  Prof. 
Holtzmann  in  his  work  on  the  Mahdbharata,  that  the 


epic  was  turned  into  a  Dharmacastra  by  the  Brahmans 
after  900  A.D.,  and  that  whole  books  were  added  at  this 
late  period. 

The  literary  evidence  of  Sanskrit  authors  from  about 
600  to  1 100  A.D.  supplies  us  with  a  considerable  amount 
of  information  as  to  the  state  of  the  great  epic  during 
those  five  centuries.  An  examination  of  the  works  of 
Bana,  and  of  his  predecessor  Subandhu,  shows  that  these 
authors,  who  belong  to  the  beginning  of  the  seventh 
century,  not  only  studied  and  made  use  of  legends  from 
every  one  of  the  eighteen  books  of  the  Mahdbhdrata  for 
the  poetical  embellishment  of  their  works,  but  were  even 
acquainted  with  the  Harivamqa.  We  also  know  that  in 
Bana's  time  the  Bhagavadgltd  was  included  in  the  great 
epic.  The  same  writer  mentions  that  the  Mahdbhdrata 
was  recited  in  the  temple  of  Mahakala  at  Ujjain.  That 
such  recitation  was  already  a  widespread  practice  at 
that  time  is  corroborated  by  an  inscription  of  about 
600  A.D.  from  the  remote  Indian  colony  of  Kamboja, 
which  states  that  copies  of  the  Mahdbhdrataf  as  well 
as  of  the  Rdmdyana  and  of  an  unnamed  Purana,  were 
presented  to  a  temple  there,  and  that  the  donor  had 
made  arrangements  to  ensure  their  daily  recitation  in 
perpetuity.  This  evidence  shows  that  the  Mahdbhdrata 
cannot  have  been  a  mere  heroic  poem,  but  must  have 
borne  the  character  of  a  Smriti  work  of  long-established 
authority.  Even  at  the  present  day  both  public  and 
private  recitations  of  the  Epics  and  Puranas  are  common 
in  India,  and  are  always  instituted  for  the  edification  and 
religious  instruction  of  worshippers  in  temples  or  of 
members  of  the  family.  As  a  rule,  the  Sanskrit  texts  are 
not  only  declaimed,  but  also  explained  in  the  vernacular 
tongue  for  the  benefit  both  of  women,  and  of  such  males 


as  belong  to  classes  unacquainted  with  the  learned 
language  of  the  Brahmans. 

We  next  come  to  the  eminent  Mlmamsa  philosopher 
Kumarila,  who  has  been  proved  to  have  flourished  in  the 
first  half  of  the  eighth  century  A.D.  In  the  small  portion 
of  his  great  commentary,  entitled  Tantra-vdrttikaf  which 
has  been  examined,  no  fewer  than  ten  of  the  eighteen 
books  of  the  Mahdbhdrata  are  named,  quoted,  or  referred 
to.  It  is  clear  that  the  epic  as  known  to  him  not  only 
included  the  first  book  (adiparvan),  but  that  that  book  in 
his  time  closely  resembled  the  form  of  its  text  which  we 
possess.  It  even  appears  to  have  contained  the  first 
section,  called  anukramanikd  or  "  Survey  of  contents,"  and 
the  second,  entitled parva-samgraha  or  "Synopsis  of  sec- 
tions." Kumarila  also  knew  Books  XII.  and  XIII.,  which 
have  frequently  been  pronounced  to  be  of  late  origin,  as 
well  as  XIX.  It  is  evident  from  his  treatment  of  the 
epic  that  he  regarded  it  as  a  work  of  sacred  tradition 
and  of  great  antiquity,  intended  from  the  beginning  for 
the  instruction  of  all  the  four  castes.  To  him  it  is  not 
an  account  of  the  great  war  between  the  Kauravas  and 
Pandus  ;  the  descriptions  of  battles  were  only  used  for 
the  purpose  of  rousing  the  martial  instincts  of  the  warrior 

The  great  Vedantist  philosopher  (Jankaracharya,  who 
wrote  his  commentary  in  804  A.D.,  often  quotes  the 
Mahdbhdrata  as  a  Smriti,  and  in  discussing  a  verse  from 
Book  XII.  expressly  states  that  the  Mahdbhdrata  was 
intended  for  the  religious  instruction  of  those  classes 
who  by  their  position  are  debarred  from  studying  the 
Vedas  and  the  Vedanta. 

From  the  middle  of  the  eleventh  century  A.D.  we 
have   the   oldest   known    abstract   of   the   Mahdbhdratay 


the  work  of  the  Kashmirian  poet  Kshemendra,  entitled 
Bhdrata-Manjari.  This  condensation  is  specially  impor- 
tant, because  it  enables  the  scholar  to  determine  the  state 
of  the  text  in  detail  at  that  time.  Professor  Biihler's  care- 
ful comparison  of  the  MSS.  of  this  work  with  the  great 
epic  has  led  him  to  the  conclusion  that  Kshemendra's 
original  did  not  differ  from  the  Mahdbhdrata  as  we  have 
it  at  present  in  any  other  way  than  two  classes  of  MSS. 
differ  from  each  other.  This  poetical  epitome  shows 
several  omissions,  but  these  are  on  the  whole  of  such  a 
nature  as  is  to  be  expected  in  any  similar  abridgment. 
It  is,  however,  likely  that  twelve  chapters  (342-353)  of 
Book  XII.,  treating  of  Narayana,  which  the  abbreviator 
passes  over,  did  not  exist  in  the  original  known  to  him. 
There  can,  moreover,  be  no  doubt  that  the  forms  of 
several  proper  names  found  in  the  Manjarl  are  better  and 
older  than  those  given  by  the  editions  of  the  Mahdbhd- 
rata, Though  the  division  of  the  original  into  eighteen 
books  is  found  in  the  abridgment  also,  it  is  made  up 
by  turning  the  third  section  (gadd-parvan)  of  Book  IX. 
^alya-parvan)  into  a  separate  book,  while  combining 
Books  XII.  and  XIII.  into  a  single  one.  This  variation 
probably  represents  an  old  division,  as  it  occurs  in  many 
MSS.  of  the  Mahdbhdrata. 

Another  work  of  importance  in  determining  the  state 
of  the  Mahdbhdrata  is  a  Javanese  translation  of  the  epic, 
also  dating  from  the  eleventh  century. 

The  best-known  commentator  of  the  Mahdbhdrata  is 
NIlakantha,  who  lived  at  Kurpara,  to  the  west  of  the 
Godavarl,  in  Maharashtra,  and,  according  to  Burnell, 
belongs  to  the  sixteenth  century.  Older  than  NIlakantha, 
who  quotes  him,  is  Arjuna  Ml^RA,  whose  commentary, 
along  with  that  of  NIlakantha,  appears  in  an  edition  of 


the  Mahdbharata  begun  at  Calcutta  in  1875.  The  earliest 
extant  commentator  of  the  great  epic  is  Sarvajna  Nara- 
YANA,  large  fragments  of  whose  notes  have  been  pre- 
served, and  who  cannot  have  written  later  than  in  the 
second  half  of  the  fourteenth  century,  but  may  be 
somewhat  older.  (^^ 

The  main  story  of  the  Mahdbharata  in  the  briefest 
possible  outline  is  as  follows:  In  the  country  of  the 
Bharatas,  which,  from  the  name  of  the  ruling  race,  had 
come  to  be  called  Kurukshetra,  or  "  Land  of  the  Kurus," 
there  lived  at  Hastinapura,  fifty-seven  miles  north-east 
of  the  modern  Delhi,  two  princes  named  Dhritarashtra 
and  Pandu.  The  elder  of  these  brothers  being  blind, 
Pandu  succeeded  to  the  throne  and  reigned  gloriously. 
He  had  five  sons  called  Pandavas,  the  chief  of  whom  were 
Yudhishthira,  Bhlma,  and  Arjuna.  Dhritarashtra  had  a 
hundred  sons,  usually  called  Kauravas,  or  Kuru  princes, 
the  most  prominent  of  whom  was  Duryodhana.  On  the 
premature  death  of  Pandu,  Dhritarashtra  took  over  the 
reins  of  government,  and  receiving  his  five  nephews  into 
his  palace,  had  them  brought  up  with  his  own  sons.  As 
the  Pandus  distinguished  themselves  greatly  in  feats  of 
arms  and  helped  him  to  victory,  the  king  appointed  his 
eldest  nephew,  Yudhishthira,  to  be  heir-apparent.  The_ 
Pandu  princes,  however,  soon  found  it  necessary  to 
escape  from  the  plots  their  cousins  now  began  to  set  on 
foot  against  them.  They  made  their  way  to  the  king  of 
Panchala,  whose  daughter  Draupadl  was  won,  in  a  con- 
test between  many  kings  and  heroes,  by  Arjuna,  who 
alone  was  able  to  bend  the  king's  great  bow  and  to  hit  a 
certain  mark.  In  order  to  avoid  strife,  Draupadl  con- 
sented to  become  the  common  wife  of  the  five  princes. 
At  Draupadl's  svayamvara  (public  choice  of  a  husband) 


the  Pandus  made  acquaintance  with  Krishna,  the  hero 
of  the  Yadavas,  who  from  this  time  onward  became 
their  fast  friend  and  adviser.  Dhritarashtra,  thinking 
it  best  to  conciliate  the  Pandavas  in  view  of  their  double 
alliance  with  the  Panchalas  and  Yadavas,  now  divided 
his  kingdom,  giving  Hastinapura  to  his  sons,  and  to  his 
nephews  a  district  where  they  built  the  city  of  Indra- 
prastha,  the  modern  Delhi  (L). 

Here  the  Pandavas  ruled  wisely  and  prospered 
greatly.  Duryodhana's  jealousy  being  aroused,  he  re- 
solved to  ruin  his  cousins,  with  the  aid  of  his  uncle 
(Jakuni,  a  skilful  gamester.  Dhritarashtra  was  accord- 
ingly induced  to  invite  the  Pandus  to  Hastinapura. 
Here  Yudhishthira,  accepting  the  challenge  to  play  at 
dice  with  Duryodhana,  lost  everything,  his  kingdom,  his 
wealth,  his  army,  his  brothers,  and  finally  Draupadl.  In 
the  end  a  compromise  was  made  by  which  the  Pandavas 
agreed  to  go  into  banishment  for  twelve  years,  and  to 
remain  incognito  for  a  thirteenth,  after  which  they  might 
return  and  regain  their  kingdom  (ii.). 

With  Draupadl  they  accordingly  departed  to  the 
Kamyaka  forest  on  the  Sarasvatl.  The  account  of  their 
twelve  years'  life  here,  and  the  many  legends  told  to 
console  them  in  their  exile,  constitute  the  vana-parvan 
or  "  Forest  book,"  one  of  the  longest  in  the  poem  (iii.). 

The  thirteenth  year  they  spent  in  disguise  as  servants 
of  Virata,  king  of  the  Matsyas.  At  this  time  the  Kurus, 
in  alliance  with  another  king,  invaded  the  country  of  the 
Matsyas,  causing  much  distress.  Then  the  Pandus  arose, 
put  the  enemy  to  flight,  and  restored  the  king.  They  now 
made  themselves  known,  and  entered  into  an  alliance 
with  the  king  (iv.). 

Their   message    demanding   back    their    possessions 


receiving  no  answer,  they  prepared  for  war.  The  rival 
armies  met  in  the  sacred  region  of  Kurukshetra,  with 
numerous  allies  on  both  sides.  Joined  with  the  Kurus 
were,  among  others,  the  people  of  Kosala,  Videha,  Anga, 
Banga  (Bengal),  Kalinga  on  the  east,  and  those  of  Sin- 
dhu,  Gandhara,  Bahllka  (Balk),  together  with  the  (Jakas 
and  Yavanas  on  the  west.  The  Pandus,  on  the  other 
hand,  were  aided  by  the  Panchalas,  the  Matsyas,  part 
of  the  Yadavas  under  Krishna,  besides  the  kings  of  Kaci 
(Benares),  Chedi,  Magadha,  and  others  (v.). 

The  battle  raged  for  eighteen  days,  till  all  the  Kurus 
were  destroyed,  and  only  the  Pandavas  and  Krishna  with 
his  charioteer  escaped  alive.  The  account  of  it  extends 
over  five  books  (vi.-x.).  Then  follows  a  description  of 
the  obsequies  of  the  dead  (xi.).  In  the  next  two  books, 
Bhlma,  the  leader  of  the  Kurus,  on  his  deathbed, 
instructs  Yudhishthira  for  about  20,000  qlokas  on  the 
duties  of  kings  and  other  topics. 

The  Pandus  having  been  reconciled  to  the  old  king 
Dhritarashtra,  Yudhishthira  was  crownecl  king  in  Has- 
tinapura,  and  instituted  a  great  horse  -  sacrifice  (xiv.). 
Dhritarashtra  having  remained  at  Hastinapura  for  fifteen 
years,  at  length  retired,  with  his  wife  Gandharl,  to  the 
jungle,  where  they  perished  in  a  forest  conflagration 
(xv.).  Among  the  Yadavas,  who  had  taken  different 
sides  in  the  great  war,  an  internecine  conflict  broke  out, 
which  resulted  in  the  annihilation  of  this  people. 
Krishna  sadly  withdrew  to  the  wilderness,  where  he 
was  accidentally  shot  dead  by  a  hunter  (xvi.). 

i  The  Pandus  themselves,  at  last  weary  of  life,  leaving 
the  young  prince  Parlkshit,  grandson  of  Arjuna,  to  rule 
over  Hastiniipura,  retired  to  the  forest,  and  dying  as 
they   wandered    towards    Meru,   the    mountain    of   the 


gods  (xvii.);  ascended  to  heaven  with  their  faithful  spouse 

Here  the  framework  of  the  great  epic,  which  begins 
at  the  commencement  of  the  first  book,  comes  to  an  end. 
King  Parlkshit  having  died  of  snake-bite,  his  son  Janam- 
ejaya  instituted  a  great  sacrifice  to  the  serpents.  At  that 
sacrifice  the  epic  was  recited  by  Vaicampayana,  who  had 
learnt  it  from  Vyasa.  The  latter,  we  are  told,  after 
arranging  the  four  Vedas,  composed  the  Mahdbhdrata, 
which  treats  of  the  excellence  of  the  Pandus,  the  great- 
ness of  Krishna,  and  the  wickedness  of  the  sons  of 

The  supplementary  book,  the  Harivamga,  or  "  Family 
of  Vishnu,"  is  concerned  only  with  Krishna.  It  contains 
more  than  16,000  glokas,  and  is  divided  into  three  sec- 
tions. The  first  of  these  describes  the  history  of  Krishna's 
ancestors  down  to  the  time  of  Vishnu's  incarnation  in 
him  ;  the  second  gives  an  account  of  Krishna's  exploits  ; 
the  third  treats  of  the  future  corruptions  of  the  Kali,  or 
fourth  age  of  trie  world. 

The  episodes  of  the  Mahdbhdrata  are  numerous  and 
often  very  extensive,  constituting,  as  we  have  seen,  about 
four-fifths  of  the  whole  poem.  Many  of  them  are  inte- 
resting for  various  reasons,  and  some  are  distinguished 
by  considerable  poetic  beauty.  One  of  them,  the  story 
of  Qakuntala  (occurring  in  Book  I.),  supplied  Kalidasa 
with  the  subject  of  his  famous  play.  Episodes  are 
specially  plentiful  in  Book  III.,  being  related  to  while 
away  the  time  of  the  exiled  Pandus.  Here  is  found  the 
Matsyopakhydna,  or  "  Episode  of  the  fish,"  being  the  story 
of  the  flood,  narrated  with  more  diffuseness  than  the 
simple  story  told  in  the  Qatapatha  Brdhmana.  The 
fish  here  declares  itself  to  be  Brahma,  Lord  of  creatures., 


and  not  yet  Vishnu,  as  in  the  Bhdgavata  Purdna. 
Manu  no  longer  appears  as  the  progenitor  of  mankind, 
but  as  a  creator  who  produces  all  beings  and  worlds 
anew  by  means  of  his  ascetic  power. 

Another  episode  is  the  history  of  Rama,  interesting 
in  its  relation  to  Valmlki's  Rdmdyana,  which  deals  with 
the  same  subject  at  much  greater  length.  The  myth  of 
the  descent  of  the  Ganges  from  heaven  to  earth,  here 
narrated,  is  told  in  the  Rdmdyana  also. 

Another  legend  is  that  of  the  sage  Ricya-cringa,  who 
having  produced  rain  in  the  country  of  Lomapada,  king 
of  the  Angas,  was  rewarded  with  the  hand  of  the  princess 
(Janta,  and  performed  that  sacrifice  for  King  Dacaratha 
which  brought  about  the  birth  of  Rama.  This  episode 
is  peculiarly  important  from  a  critical  point  of  view,  as 
the  legend  recurs  not  only  in  the  Rdmdyana,  but  also  in 
the  Padma  Purdna,  the  Skanda  Purdna,  and  a  number  of 
other  sources. 

Of  special  interest  is  the  story  of  King  Uclnara,  son 
of  Cibi,  who  sacrificed  his  life  to  save  a  pigeon  from  a 
hawk.  It  is  told  again  in  another  part  of  Book  III. 
about  Cibi  himself,  as  well  as  in  Book  XIII.  about 
Vrishadarbha,  son  of  (Jibi.  Distinctly  Buddhistic  in 
origin  and  character,  the  story  is  famous  in  Pali  as 
well  as  Sanskrit  literature,  and  spread  beyond  the  limits 
of  India. 

The  story  of  the  abduction   of  Draupadl  forms  an 

episode  of  her  life  while  she  dwelt  with  the  Pandus  in 

the  Kamyaka  forest.     Accidentally  seen  when  alone  by 

King   Jayadratha   of   Sindhu,   who  was  passing  with  a 

great  army,  and  fell  in  love  with  her  at  first  sight,  she 

was  forcibly  carried  off,  and  only  rescued  after  a  terrible 

fight,  in  which  the  Pandus  annihilated  Jayadratha's  host. 


Interesting  as  an  illustration  of  the  mythological 
ideas  of  the  age  is  the  episode  which  describes  the 
journey  of  Arjuna  to  Indra's  heaven.  Here  we  see 
the  mighty  warrior-god  of  the  Vedas  transformed  into 
a  glorified  king  of  later  times,  living  a  life  of  ease  amid 
the  splendours  of  his  celestial  court,  where  the  ear  is 
lulled  by  strains  of  music,  while  the  eye  is  ravished  by 
the  graceful  dancing  and  exquisite  beauty  of  heavenly 

In  the  story  of  Savitrl  we  have  one  of  the  finest  of  the 
many  ideal  female  characters  which  the  older  epic  poetry 
of  India  has  created.  Savitrl,  daughter  of  A$vapati,  king 
of  Madra,  chooses  as  her  husband  Satyavat,  the  hand- 
some and  noble  son  of  a  blind  and  exiled  king,  who 
dwells  in  a  forest  hermitage.  Though  warned  by  the 
sage  Narada  that  the  prince  is  fated  to  live  but  a  single 
year,  she  persists  in  her  choice,  and  after  the  wedding 
departs  with  her  husband  to  his  father's  forest  retreat. 
Here  she  lives  happily  till  she  begins  to  be  tortured  with 
anxiety  on  the  approach  of  the  fatal  day.  When  it 
arrives,  she  follows  her  husband  on  his  way  to  cut  wood 
in  the  forest.  After  a  time  he  lies  down  exhausted. 
Yama,  the  god  of  death,  appears,  and  taking  his  soul, 
departs.  As  Savitrl  persistently  follows  him,  Yama  grants 
her  various  boons,  always  excepting  the  life  of  her 
husband ;  but  yielding  at  last  to  her  importunities,  he 
restores  the  soul  to  the  lifeless  body.  "  Satyavat  recovers, 
and  lives  happily  for  many  years  with  his  faithful  Savitrl. 

One  of  the  oldest  and  most  beautiful  stories  inserted 
in  the  MahdbJiarata  is  the  Nalopdkhyana,  or  il  Episode  of 
Nala."  It  is  one  of  the  least  corrupted  of  the  episodes, 
its  great  popularity  having  prevented  the  transforming 
hand  of  an  editor  from  introducing  (^iva  and  Vishnu,  or 


from  effacing  the  simplicity  of  the  manners  it  depicts — 
the  prince,  for  instance,  cooks  his  own  food — or  from 
changing  the  character  of  Indra,  and  other  old  traits. 
The  poem  is  pervaded  by  a  high  tone  of  morality, 
manifested  above  all  in  the  heroic  devotion  and  fidelity 
of  DamayantI,  its  leading  character.  It  also  contains 
many  passages  distinguished  by  tender  pathos. 

The  story  is  told  by  the  wise  Brihadacva  to  the  exiled 
Yudhishthira,  in  order  to  console  him  for  the  loss  of 
the  kingdom  he  has  forfeited  at  play.  Nala,  prince  of 
Nishada,  chosen  from  among  many  competitors  for  her 
hand  by  DamayantI,  princess  of  Vidarbha,  passes  several 
years  of  happy  married  life  with  her.  Then,  possessed 
by  the  demon  Kali,  and  indulging  in  gambling,  he  loses 
his  kingdom  and  all  his  possessions.  Wandering  half 
naked  in  the  forest  with  DamayantI,  he  abandons  her  in 
his  frenzy.  Very  pathetic  is  the  scene  describing  how 
he  repeatedly  returns  to  the  spot  where  his  wife  lies 
asleep  on  the  ground  before  he  finally  deserts  her. 
Equally  touching  are  the  accounts  of  her  terror  on 
awaking  to  find  herself  alone  in  the  forest,  and  of  her 
lamentations  as  she  roams  in  search  of  her  husband,  and 
calls  out  to  him — 

Hero,  valiant,  knowing  duty, 

To  honour  faithful,  lord  of  earth, 
If  thou  art  within  this  forest, 

Then  show  thee  in  thy  proper  form. 
Shall  I  hear  the  voice  of  Nala, 

Sweet  as  the  draught  of  Amrita, 
With  its  deep  and  gentle  accent, 

Like  rumble  of  the  thunder-cloud, 
Saying  "  Daughter  of  Vidarbha  !  " 

To  me  with  clear  and  blessed  sound, 
Rich,  like  Vedas  murmured  flowing. 

At  once  destroying  all  my  grief? 


There  are  graphic  descriptions  of  the  beauties  and 
terrors  of  the  tropical  forest  in  which  Damayanti  wanders. 
At  last  she  finds  her  way  back  to  her  father's  court  at 
Kundina.J}  Many  and  striking  are  the  similes  with  which 
the  poet  dwells  on  the  grief  and  wasted  form  of  the 
princess  in  her  separation  from  her  husband.     She  is 

Like  the  young  moon's  slender  crescent 
Obscured  by  black  clouds  in  the  sky; 

Like  the  lotus-flower  uprooted, 

All  parched  and  withered  by  the  sun; 

Like  the  pallid  night,  when  Rahu 
Has  swallowed  up  the  darkened  moon. 

Nala,  meanwhile,  transformed  into  a  dwarf,  has  be- 
come charioteer  to  the  king  of  Oudh.  Damayanti  at 
last  hears  news  leading  her  to  suspect  her  husband's 
whereabouts.  She  accordingly  holds  out  hopes  of  her 
hand  to  the  king  of  Oudh,  on  condition  of  his  driving 
the  distance  of  500  miles  to  Kundina  in  a  single  day. 
Nala,  acting  as  his  charioteer,  accomplishes  the  feat,  and 
is  rewarded  by  the  king  with  the  secret  of  the  highest 
skill  in  dicing.  Recognised  by  his  wife  in  spite  of  his 
disguise,  he  regains  his  true  form.  He  plays  again,  and 
wins  back  his  lost  kingdom.  Thus  after  years  of  adven- 
ture, sorrow,  and  humiliation  he  is  at  last  reunited  with 
Damayanti,  with  whom  he  spends  the  rest  of  his  days  in 

Though  several  supernatural  and  miraculous  features 
like  those  which  occur  in  fairy  tales  are  found  in  the 
episode  of  Nala,  they  are  not  sufficient  to  mar  the  spirit 
of  true  poetry  which  pervades  the  story  as  a  whole. 


The  Puranas. 

^Closely  connected  with  the  Mahdonarata  is  a  distinct 
class  of  eighteen  epic  works,  didactic  in  character  and 
sectarian  in  purpose,  going  by  the  name  of  Purana. 
The  term  purana  is  already  found  in  the  Brahinanas 
designating  cosmogonic  inquiries  generally.  It  is  also 
used  in  the  Mahdbharata  somewhat  vaguely  to  express 
"ancient  legendary  lore/'  implying  didactic  as  well  as 
narrative  matter,  and  pointing  to  an  old  collection  of 
epic  stories.  One  passage  of  the  epic  (I.  v.  1)  describes 
purana  as  containing  stories  of  the  gods  and  genealogies 
of  the  sages.  In  Book  XVIII.,  as  well  as  in  the  Hari- 
vamga,  mention  is  even  made  of  eighteen  Puranas,  which, 
however,  have  not  been  preserved ;  for  those  known 
to  us  are  all,  on  the  whole,  later  than  the  Mahdbharata, 
and  for  the  most  part  derive  their  legends  of  ancient 
days  from  the  great  epic  itself.  Nevertheless  they 
contain  much  that  is  old ;  and  it  is  not  always  possible 
to  assume  that  the  passages  they  have  in  common  with 
the  Mahdbharata  and  Manu  have  been  borrowed  from 
those  works.  They  are  connected  by  many  threads 
with  the  old  law-books  {smritis)  and  the  Vedas,  repre- 
senting probably  a  development  of  older  works  of  the 
same  class.  In  that  part  of  their  contents  which  is 
peculiar  to  them,  the  Puranas  agree  so  closely,  being 
often  verbally  identical  for  pages,  that  they  must  be 
{derived  from  some  older  collection  as  a  common  source. 
\Most  of  them  are  introduced  in  exactly  the  same  way 
as  the  Mahdbharata,  Ugracravas,  the  son  of  Lomahar- 
shana,  being  represented  as  relating  their  contents  to 
(Jaunaka  on  the  occasion  of  a  sacrifice  in  the  Naimisha 
forest.     The  object  of  most  of  these  legendary  compila- 


tions  is  to  recommend  the  sectarian  cult  of  Vishnu, 
though  some  of  them  favour  the  worship  of  (Jiva. 

Besides  cosmogony,  they  deal  with  mythical  descrip- 
tions of  the  earth,  the  doctrine  of  the  cosmic  ages,  the 
exploits  of  ancient  gods,  saints,  and  heroes,  accounts 
of  the  Avatars  of  Vishnu,  the  genealogies  of  the  Solar 
and  Lunar  race  of  kings,  and  enumerations  of  the 
thousand  names  of  Vishnu  or  of  (^iva.  They  also  con- 
tain rules  about  the  worship  of  the  gods  by  means  of 
prayers,  fastings,  votive  offerings,  festivals,  and  pilgrim- 

The  Garuddy  as  well  as  the  late  and  unimportant 
Agni  Purdiiay  practically  constitute  abstracts  of  the 
Mahdbhdrata  and  the  Harivamqa. 

The  VdyUy  which  appears  to  be  one  of  the  oldest, 
coincides  in  part  of  its  matter  with  the  Mahdbhdrata, 
but  is  more  closely  connected  with  the  Harivamqa,  the 
passage  which  deals  with  the  creation  of  the  world 
often  agreeing  verbatim  with  the  corresponding  part 
of  the  latter  poem. 

The  relationship  of  the  Matsya  Purdna  to  the  great 
epic  and  its  supplementary  book  as  sources  is  similarly 
intimate.  It  is  introduced  with  the  story  of  Manu  and 
the  Fish  {Matsya).  The  Kurmay  besides  giving  an 
account  of  the  various  Avatars  of  Vishnu  (of  which 
the  tortoise  or  kurrna  is  one),  of  the  genealogies  of  gods 
and  kings,  as  well  as  other  matters,  contains  an  extensive 
account  of  the  world  in  accordance  with  the  accepted 
cosmological  notions  of  the  Mahdbhdrata  and  of  the 
Puranas  in  general.  The  world  is  here  represented 
as  consisting  of  seven  concentric  islands  separated  by 
different  oceans.  The  central  island,  with  Mount  Meru 
in  the  middle,  is  Jambu-dvipa,  of  which  Bhdrata-varsha, 


the  "kingdom  of  the  Bharatas,"  or   India,  is  the  main 

The  Mdrkaiideyay  which  expressly  recognises  the 
priority  of  the  Mahdbhdrata,  is  so  called  because  it  is 
related  by  the  sage  Markandeya  to  explain  difficulties 
suggested  by  the  epic,  such  as,  How  could  Krishna 
become  a  man  ?  Its  leading  feature  is  narrative  and 
it  is  the  least  sectarian  of  the  Puranas. 

The  extensive  Padma  Purdna,  which  contains  a  great 
many  stories  agreeing  with  those  of  the  Mahdbhdrata,  is, 
on  the  other  hand,  strongly  Vishnuite  in  tone.  Yet  this, 
as  well  as  the  Mdrka7tdeya,  expressly  states  the  doctrine 
of  the  Tri-murti  or  Trinity,  that  Brahma,  Vishnu,  and 
Civa  are  only  one  being.  This  doctrine,  already  to  be 
found  in  the  Harivamqa,  is  not  so  prominent  in  post- 
Vedic  literature  as  is  commonly  supposed.  It  is  in- 
teresting to  note  that  the  story  of  Rama,  as  told  in 
the  Padma  Purdna,  follows  not  only  the  Rdmdyana  but 
also  Kalidasa's  account  in  the  Raghuvamga,  with  which 
it  often  agrees  literally.  Again,  the  story  of  (Jakuntala 
is  related,  not  in  accordance  with  the  Mahdbhdrata,  but 
with  Kalidasa's  drama. 

The  Brahma-vaivarta  Purdna  is  also  strongly  sectarian 
in  favour  of  Vishnu  in  the  form  of  Krishna.  It  is  to 
be  noted  that  both  here  and  in  the  Padma  Purdna  an 
important  part  is  played  by  Krishna's  mistress  Radha, 
who  is  unknown  to  the  Harivamqa,  the  Vishnu,  and  even 
the  Bhdgavata  Purdna. 

The  Vishnu  Purdna,  which  very  often  agrees  with  the 
Mahdbhdrata  in  its  subject-matter,  corresponds  most 
closely  to  the  Indian  definition  of  a  Purana,  as  treat- 
ing of  the  five  topics  of  primary  creation,  secondary 
creation,  genealogies  of  gods  and  patriarchs,  reigns  of 


various  Manus,  and  the  history  of  the  old  dynasties 
of  kings. 

The  Bhdgavata  Purana,  which  consists  of  about 
18,000  qlokas,  derives  its  name  from  being  dedicated  to 
the  glorification  of  Bhagavata  or  Vishnu.  It  is  later  than 
the'  Vishnu,  which  it  presupposes,  probably  dating  from 
the  thirteenth  century.  It  exercises  a  more  powerful 
influence  in  India  than  any  other  Purana.  The  most 
popular  part  is  the  tenth  book,  which  narrates  in  detail 
the  history  of  Krishna,  and  has  been  translated  into  per- 
haps every  one  of  the  vernacular  languages  of  India. 

Other  Vishnuite  Puranas  of  a  late  date  are  the 
Brahma,  the  Ndradlya,  the  Vdmana,  and  the  Vardha, 
the  latter  two  called  after  the  Dwarf  and  the  Boar 
incarnations  of  Vishnu. 

Those  which  specially  favour  the  cult  of  (Jiva  are 
the  Skanda,  the  Qiva,  the  Linga,  and  the  Bhavishya  or 
Bhavishyat  Puranas.  The  latter  two  contain  little  narra- 
tive matter,  being  rather  ritual  in  character.  A  Bhavishyat 
Purana  is  already  mentioned  in  the  Apastamba  Dharma 

Besides  these  eighteen  Puranas  there  is  also  an 
equal  number  of  secondary  works  of  the  same  class 
called  Upa-purdnas,  in  which  the  epic  matter  has  become 
entirely  subordinate  to  the  ritual  element. 

The  Ramayana. 

Though  there  is,  as  we  shall  see,  good  reason  for 
supposing  that  the  original  part  of  the  Ramayana  assumed 
shape  at  a  time  when  the  Mahdbhdrata  was  still  in  a  state 
of  flux,  we  have  deferred  describing  it  on  account  of  its 
connection  with  the  subsequent  development  of  epic 
poetry  in  Sanskrit  literature. 



/  Recensions  of  the  ramAyana      303 

In  its  present  form  the  Rdmdyana  consists  of  about  / 
24,000  qlokas,  and  is  divided  into  seven  books.  It  has  / 
been  preserved  in  three  distinct  recensions,  the  West 
Indian  (A),  the  Bengal  (B),  and  the  Bombay  (C).  About 
one-third  of  the  glokas  in  each  recension  occurs  in  neither 
of  the  other  two.  The  Bombay  recension  has  in  most 
cases  preserved  the  oldest  form  of  the  text ;  for,  as  the 
other  two  arose  in  the  centres  of  classical  Sanskrit  litera- 
ture, where  the  Gauda  and  the  Vaidarbha  styles  of  com- 
position respectively  flourished,  the  irregularities  of  the 
epic  language  have  been  removed  in  them.  The  Rdmd- 
yana was  here  treated  as  a  regular  kdvya  or  artificial  epic, 
a  fate  which  the  Mahdbhdrata  escaped  because  it  early 
lost  its  original  character,  and  came  to  be  regarded  as 
a  didactic  work.  These  two  later  recensions  must  not, 
however,  be  looked  upon  as  mere  revisions  of  the 
Bombay  text.  The  variations  of  all  three  are  of  such  a 
kind  that  they  can  for  the  most  part  be  accounted  for 
only  by  the  fluctuations  of  oral  tradition  among  the  pro- 
fessional reciters  of  the  epic,  at  the  time  when  the  three 
recensions  assumed  definite  shape  in  different  parts 
of  the  country  by  being  committed  to  writing.  After 
having  been  thus  fixed,  the  fate  of  each  of  these  recen- 
sions was  of  course  similar  to  that  of  any  other  text. 
They  appear  to  go  back  to  comparatively  early  times. 
For  quotations  from  the  Rdmdyana  occurring  in  works 
that  belong  to  the  eighth  and  ninth  centuries  A.D.  show 
that  a  recension  allied  to  the  present  C,  and  probably 
another  allied  to  the  present  A,  existed  at  that  period. 
Moreover,  Kshemendra's  poetical  abstract  of  the  epic,  the 
Rdmdyana- kathdsdra-manjari,  which  follows  the  contents 
of  the  original  step  by  step,  proves  that  its  author  used  A, 
and  perhaps  B  also,  in  the  middle  of  the  eleventh  century. 


Bhoja,  the  composer  of  another  epitome,  the  Rdmdyana- 
champu,  probably  used  C  in  the  same  century. 

The  careful  investigations  of  Professor  Jacobi  have 
shown  that  the  Rdmdyana  originally  consisted  of  five  books 
only  (ii.-vi.).  The  seventh  is  undoubtedly  a  later  addition, 
for  the  conclusion  of  the  sixth  was  evidently  at  one  time 
the  end  of  the  whole  poem.  Again,  the  first  book  has 
several  passages  which  conflict  with  statements  in  the 
later  books.  It  further  contains  two  tables  of  contents 
(in  cantos  i.  and  iii.)  which  were  clearly  made  at  different 
times ;  for  one  of  them  takes  no  notice  of  the  first  and 
last  books,  and  must,  therefore,  have  been  made  before 
these  were  added.  What  was  obviously  a  part  of  the 
commencement  of  the  original  poem  has  been  separated 
from  its  continuation  at  the  opening  of  Book  II.,  and 
now  forms  the  beginning  of  the  fifth  canto  of  Book  I. 
Some  cantos  have  also  been  interpolated  in  the  genuine 
books.  As  Professor  Jacobi  shows,  all  these  additions  to 
the  original  body  of  the  epic  have  been  for  the  most 
part  so  loosely  attached  that  the  junctures  are  easy  to 
recognise.  They  are,  however,  pervaded  by  the  same 
spirit  as  the  older  part.  There  is,  therefore,  no  reason 
for  the  supposition  that  they  are  due  to  a  Brahman 
revision  intended  to  transform  a  poem  originally  meant 
for  the  warrior  caste.  They  seem  rather  to  owe  their 
origin  simply  to  the  desire  of  professional  rhapsodists  to 
meet  the  demands  of  the  popular  taste.  We  are  told  in 
the  Rdmdyana  itself  that  the  poem  was  either  recited  by 
professional  minstrels  or  sung  to  the  accompaniment  of 
a  stringed  instrument,  being  handed  down  orally,  in  the 
first  place  by  Rama's  two  sons  Kuca  and  Lava.  These 
names  are  nothing  more  than  the  inventions  of  popular 
etymology  meant  to  explain  the  Sanskrit  word  ku$ilavay 


"bard"  or  "actor."  The  new  parts  were  incorporated 
before  the  three  recensions  which  have  come  down  to  us 
arose,  but  a  considerable  time  must  have  elapsed  between 
the  composition  of  the  original  poem  and  that  of  the 
additions.  For  the  tribal  hero  of  the  former  has  in  the 
latter  been  transformed  into  a  national  hero,  the  moral 
ideal  of  the  people ;  and  the  human  hero  (like  Krishna 
in  the  Mahdbhdratd)  of  the  five  genuine  books  (excepting 
a  few  interpolations)  has  in  the  first  and  last  become 
deified  and  identified  with  the  god  Vishnu,  his  divine 
nature  in  these  additions  being  always  present  to  the 
minds  of  their  authors.  Here,  too,  Valmiki,  the  composer 
of  the  Rdmdyanay  appears  as  a  contemporary  of  Rama, 
and  is  already  regarded  as  a  seer.  A  long  interval  of 
time  must  have  been  necessary  for  such  transformations 
as  these. 

As  to  the  place  of  its  origin,  there  is  good  reason  for 
believing  that  the  Rdmdyana  arose  in  Kosala,  the  country 
ruled  by  the  race  of  Ikshvaku  in  Ayodhya  (Oudh).  For 
we  are  told  in  the  seventh  book  (canto  45)  that  the 
hermitage  of  Valmiki  lay  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Ganges; 
the  poet  must  further  have  been  connected  with  the  royal 
house  of  Ayodhya,  as  the  banished  Slta  took  refuge  in  his 
hermitage,  where  her  twin  sons  were  born,  brought  up, 
and  later  learnt  the  epic  from  his  lips  ;  and  lastly,  the 
statement  is  made  in  the  first  book  (canto  5)  that  the 
Rdmdyana  arose  in  the  family  of  the  Ikshvakus.  In 
Ayodhya,  then,  there  must  have  been  current  among  the 
court  bards  {siltd)  a  number  of  epic  tales  narrating  the 
fortunes  of  the  Ikshvaku  hero  Rama.  Such  legends,  we 
may  assume,  Valmiki  worked  up  into  a  single  homo- 
geneous production,  which,  as  the  earliest  epic  of  impor- 
tance conforming  to  the  rules  of  poetics,  justly  received 


the  name  of  ddi-kdvya,  or  "  first  artificial  poem,"  from  its 
author's  successors.  This  work  was  then  learnt  by  pro- 
fessional rhapsodists  (kugilava)  and  recited  by  them  in 
public  as  they -wandered  about  the  country. 

The  original  part  of  the  Rdmdyana  appears  to  have 
been  completed  at  a  time  when  the  epic  kernel  of  the 
Mahdbhdrata  had  not  as  yet  assumed  definite  shape.  For 
while  the  heroes  of  the  latter  are  not  mentioned  in  the 
Rdmdyana,  the  story  of  Rama  is  often  referred  to  in  the 
longer  epic.  Again,  in  a  passage  of  Book  VII.  of  the 
Mahdbhdrata,  which  cannot  be  regarded  as  a  later 
addition,  two  lines  are  quoted  as  Valmlki's  that  occur 
unaltered  in  Book  VI.  of  the  Rdmdyana.  The  poem  of 
Valmiki  must,  therefore,  have  been  generally  known  as 
an  old  work  before  the  Mahdbhdrata  assumed  a  coherent 
form.  In  Book  III.  (cantos  277-291)  of  the  latter  epic, 
moreover,  there  is  a  Rdmopdkhydna  or  "Episode  of 
Rama,"  which  seems  to  be  based  on  the  Rdmdyana,  as 
it  contains  several  verses  agreeing  more  or  less  with 
Valmlki's  lines,  and  its  author  presupposes  on  the  part 
of  his  audience  a  knowledge  of  the  Rdmdyana  as  repre- 
sented by  the  Bombay  recension. 

A  further  question  of  importance  in  determining 
the  age  of  the  Rdmdyana  is  its  relation  to  Buddhistic 
literature.  Now,  the  story  of  Rama  is  found  in  a  some- 
what altered  form  in  one  of  the  Pali  Birth-Stories,  the 
Daqaratha  Jdtaka.  As  this  version  confines  itself  to  the 
first  part  of  Rama's  adventures,  his  sojourn  in  the  forest, 
it  might  at  first  sight  seem  to  be  the  older  of  the  two. 
There  is,  however,  at  least  an  indication  that  the  second 
part  of  the  story,  the  expedition  to  Lanka,  was  also 
known  to  the  author  of  the  Jdtaka ;  for  while  Valmlki's 
poem  concludes  with  the  reunion  of  Rama  and  Slta,  the 


Jdtaka  is  made  to  end  with  the  marriage  of  the  couple 
after  the  manner  of  fairy  tales,  there  being  at  the  same 
time  traces  that  they  were  wedded  all  along  in  the 
original  source  of  the  legend.  Moreover,  a  verse  from 
the  old  part  of  the  Rdmdyana  (vi.  128)  actually  occurs 
in  a  Pali  form  embedded  in  the  prose  of  this  Jdtaka. 

It  might,  indeed,  be  inferred  from  the  greater  freedom 
with  which  they  handle  the  cloka  metre  that  the  canoni- 
cal Buddhistic  writings  are  older  than  the  Rdmdyana,  in 
which  the  cloka  is  of  the  classical  Sanskrit  type.  But, 
as  a  matter  of  fact,  these  Pali  works  on  the  whole 
observe  the  laws  of  the  classical  gloka,  their  metrical 
irregularities  being  most  probably  caused  by  the  recent 
application  of  Pali  to  literary  purposes  as  well  as  by  the 
inferior  preservation  of  Pali  works.  On  the  other  hand, 
Buddhistic  literature  early  made  use  of  the  Aryd  metre, 
which,  though  so  popular  in  classical  Sanskrit  poetry, 
is  not  yet  to  be  found  in  the  Sanskrit  epics. 

The  only  mention  of  Buddha  in  the  Rdmdyana  occurs 
in  a  passage  which  is  evidently  interpolated.  Hence  the 
balance  of  the  evidence  in  relation  to  Buddhism  seems 
to  favour  the  pre-Buddhistic  origin  of  the  genuine 

The  question  whether  the  Greeks  were  known  to  the 
author  of  our  epic  is,  of  course,  also  of  chronological 
moment.  An  examination  of  the  poem  shows  that  the 
Yavanas  (Greeks)  are  only  mentioned  twice,  once  in 
Book  I.  and  once  in  a  canto  of  Book  IV.,  which  Professor 
Jacobi  shows  to  be  an  interpolation.  The  only  conclu- 
sion to  be  drawn  from  this  is  that  the  additions  to  the 
original  poem  were  made  some  time  after  300  B.C. 
Professor  Weber's  assumption  of  Greek  influence  in 
the  story  of  the  Rdmdyana  seems  to  lack  foundation. 


For  the  tale  of  the  abduction  of  Slta  and  the  expedition 
to  Lanka  for  her  recovery  has  no  real  correspondence 
with  that  of  the  rape  of  Helen  and  the  Trojan  war. 
Nor  is  there  any  sufficient  reason  to  suppose  that  the 
account  of  Rama  bending  a  powerful  bow  in  order  to 
win  Slta  was  borrowed  from  the  adventures  of  Ulysses. 
Stories  of  similar  feats  of  strength  for  a  like  object  are 
to  be  found  in  the  poetry  of  other  nations  besides  the 
Greeks,  and  could  easily  have  arisen  independently. 

The  political  aspect  of  Eastern  India  as  revealed  by 
the  Rdmdyana  sheds  some  additional  light  on  the  age  of 
the  epic.  In  the  first  place,  no  mention  is  made  of  the 
city  of  Pataliputra  (Patna),  which  was  founded  by  King 
Kalacoka  (under  whom  the  second  Buddhist  council 
was  held  at  Vaicall  about  380  B.C.),  and  which  by  the 
time  of  Megasthenes  (300  B.C.)  had  become  the  capital 
of  India.  Yet  Rama  is  in  Book  I.  (canto  35)  described 
as  passing  the  very  spot  where  that  city  stood,  and  the 
poet  makes  a  point  (in  cantos  32-33)  of  referring  to  the 
foundation  of  a  number  of  cities  in  Eastern  Hindustan, 
such  as  KaucambI,  Kanyakubja,  and  Kampilya,  in  order 
to  show  how  far  the  fame  of  the  Rdmdyana  spread  beyond 
the  confines  of  Kosala,  the  land  of  its  origin.  Had 
Pataliputra  existed  at  the  time,  it  could  not  have  failed 
to  be  mentioned. 

It  is  further  a  noteworthy  fact  that  the  capital  of 
Kosala  is  in  the  original  Rdmdyana  regularly  called 
Ayodhya,  while  the  Buddhists,  Jains,  Greeks,  and  Patan- 
jali  always  give  it  the  name  of  Saketa.  Now  in  the  last 
book  of  the  Rdmdyana  we  are  told  that  Rama's  son, 
Lava,  fixed  the  seat  of  his  government  at  (^ravasti,  a  city 
not  mentioned  at  all  in  the  old  part  of  the  epic ;  and  in 
Buddha's  time  King  Prasenajit  of  Kosala  is  known  to  have 


reigned  at  (^ravastT.  All  this  points  to  the  conclusion 
that  the  original  Rdmdyana  was  composed  when  the 
ancient  Ayodhya  had  not  yet  been  deserted,  but  was 
still  the  chief  city  of  Kosala,  when  its  new  name  of 
Saketa  was  still  unknown,  and  before  the  seat  of  govern- 
ment was  transferred  to  (Jravastl. 

Again,  in  the  old  part  of  Book  I.,  Mithila  and  Vicala 
are  spoken  of  as  twin  cities  under  separate  rulers,  while 
we  know  that  by  Buddha's  time  they  had  coalesced  to 
the  famous  city  of  Vaicall,  which  was  then  ruled  by  an 

The  political  conditions  described  in  the  Rdmdyana 
indicate  the  patriarchal  rule  of  kings  possessing  only  a 
small  territory,  and  never  point  to  the  existence  of  more 
complex  states  ;  while  the  references  of  the  poets  of  the 
Mahdbhdrata  to  the  dominions  in  Eastern  India  ruled  by 
a  powerful  king,  Jarasandha,  and  embracing  many  lands 
besides  Magadha,  reflect  the  political  conditions  of  the 
fourth  century  B.C.  The  cumulative  evidence  of  the 
above  arguments  makes  it  difficult  to  avoid  the  con- 
clusion that  the  kernel  of  the  Rdmdyana  was  composed  i 
before  500  B.C.,  while  the  more  recent  portions  were 
probably  not  added  till  the  second  century  B.C.  and 

This  conclusion  does  not  at  first  sight  seem  to  be 
borne  out  by  the  linguistic  evidence  of  the  Rdmdyana. 
For  the  epic  (drsha)  dialect  of  the  Bombay  recension, 
which  is  practically  the  same  as  that  of  the  Mahdbhdrata, 
both  betrays  a  stage  of  development  decidedly  later 
than  that  of  Panini,  and  is  taken  no  notice  of  by  that 
grammarian.  But  it  is,  for  all  that,  not  necessarily  later 
in  date.  For  Panini  deals  only  with  the  refined  Sanskrit 
of  the  cultured  ($ishta)f  that  is  to  say,  of  the  Brahmans, 


which  would  be  more  archaic  than  the  popular  dialect  of 
wandering  rhapsodists;  and  he  would  naturally  have 
ignored  the  latter.  Now  at  the  time  of  the  Acoka  in- 
scriptions, or  hardly  more  than  half  a  century  later 
than  Panini,  Prakrit  was  the  language  of  the  people 
in  the  part  of  India  where  the  Rdmdyana  was  com- 
posed. It  is,  therefore,  not  at  all  likely  that  the 
Rdmdyana,  which  aimed  at  popularity,  should  have 
been  composed  as  late  as  the  time  of  Panini,  when 
it  could  not  have  been  generally  understood.  If  the 
language  of  the  epic  is  later  than  Panini,  it  is  difficult 
to  see  how  it  escaped  the  dominating  influence  of  his 
grammar.  It  is  more  likely  that  the  popular  Sanskrit 
of  the  epics  received  general  currency  at  a  much  earlier 
date  by  the  composition  of  a  poem  like  that  of  Valmlki. 
A  searching  comparative  investigation  of  the  classical 
Kavyas  will  probably  show  that  they  are  linguistically 
more  closely  connected  with  the  old  epic  poetry,  and 
that  they  deviate  more  from  the  Paninean  standard  than 
is  usually  supposed. 

In  style  the  Rdmdyana  is  already  far  removed  from 
the  naive  popular  epic,  in  which  the  story  is  the  chief 
thing,  and  not  its  form.  Valmlki  is  rich  in  similes, 
which  he  often  cumulates  ;  he  not  infrequently  uses  the 
cognate  figure  called  rupaka  or  "identification"  (e.g.  "  foot- 
lotus  ")  with  much  skill,  and  also  occasionally  employs 
other  ornaments  familiar  to  the  classical  poets,  besides 
approximating  to  them  in  the  style  of  his  descriptions. 
The  Rdmdyana,  in  fact,  represents  the  dawn  of  the  later 
artificial  poetry  (kdvya),  which  was  in  all  probability  the 
direct  continuation  and  development  of  the  art  handed 
down  by  the  rhapsodists  who  recited  Valmiki's  work. 
Such  a  relationship  is  distinctly  recognised  by  the  authors 


of  the  great  classical  epics  (inahdkavis)  when  they  refer 
to  him  as  the  ddi-kavi  or  "  first  poet." 
/The  story  of  the  Rdmdyana,  as  narrated  in  the  five 
genuine  books,  consists  of  two  distinct  parts.  The  first 
describes  the  events  at  the  court  of  King  Dacaratha  at 
Ayodhya  and  their  consequences.  Here  we  have  a 
purely  human  and  natural  account  of  the  intrigues  of  a 
queen  to  set  her  son  upon  the  throne.  There  is  nothing 
fantastic  in  the  narrative,  nor  has  it  any  mythological 
background.  If  the  epic  ended  with  the  return  of 
Rama's  brother,  Bharata,  to  the  capital,  after  the  old 
king's  death,  it  might  pass  for  a  historical  saga.  For 
Ikshvaku,  Dacaratha,  and  Rama  are  the  names  of  cele- 
brated and  mighty  kings,  mentioned  even  in  the  Rigveda, 
though  not  there  connected  with  one  another  in  any  way. 
The  character  of  the  second  part  is  entirely  different. 
Based  on  a  foundation  of  myths,  it  is  full  of  the  marvel- 
lous and  fantastic.  The  oldest  theory  as  to  the  signifi- 
cance of  the  story  was  that  of  Lassen,  who  held  that 
it  was  intended  to  represent  allegorically  the  first  attempt 
of  the  Aryans  to  conquer  the  South.  But  Rama  is  no- 
where described  as  founding  an  Aryan  realm  in  the 
Dekhan,  nor  is  any  such  intention  on  his  part  indicated 
anywhere  in  the  epic.  Weber  subsequently  expressed 
the  same  view  in  a  somewhat  modified  form.  According 
to  him,  the  Rdmdyaria  was  meant  to  account  for  the 
spread  of  Aryan  culture  to  the  South  and  to  Ceylon. 
But  this  form  of  the  allegorical  theory  also  lacks  any 
confirmation  from  the  statements  of  the  epic  itself ;  for 
Rama's  expedition  is  nowhere  represented  as  producing 
any  change  or  improvement  in  the  civilisation  of  the 
South.  The  poet  knows  nothing  about  the  Dekhan 
beyond  the  fact   that   Brahman  hermitages   are   to   be 


found  there.  Otherwise  it  is  a  region  haunted  by  the 
monsters  and  fabulous  beings  with  which  an  Indian 
imagination  would  people  an  unknown  land. 

There  is  much  more  probability  in  the  opinion  of 
Jacobi,  that  the  Rdmdyana  contains  no  allegory  at  all,  but 
is  based  on  Indian  mythology.  The  foundation  of  the 
second  part  would  thus  be  a  celestial  myth  of  the  Veda 
transformed  into  a  narrative  of  earthly  adventures  ac- 
cording to  a  not  uncommon  development.  Slta  can  be 
traced  to  the  Rigveda,  where  she  appears  as  the  Furrow 
personified  and  invoked  as  a  goddess.  In  some  of  the 
Grihya  Sutras  she  again  appears  as  a  genius  of  the 
ploughed  field,  is  praised  as  a  being  of  great  beauty, 
and  is  accounted  the  wife  of  Indra  or  Parjanya,  the  rain- 
god.  There  are  traces  of  this  origin  in  the  Rdmdyana 
itself.  For  Slta  is  represented  (i.  66)  as  having  emerged 
from  the  earth  when  her  father  Janaka  was  once  plough- 
ing, and  at  last  she  disappears  underground  in  the  arms 
of  the  goddess  Earth  (vii.  97).  Her  husband,  Rama, 
would  be  no  other  than  Indra,  and  his  conflict  with 
Ravana,  chief  of  the  demons,  would  represent  the  Indra- 
Vritra  myth  of  the  Rigveda.  This  identification  is  con- 
firmed by  the  name  of  Ravana's  son  being  Indrajit, 
"Conqueror  of  Indra,"  or  Indracatru,  "  Foe  of  Indra," 
the  latter  being  actually  an  epithet  of  Vritra  in  the  Rig- 
veda. Ravana's  most  notable  feat,  the  rape  of  Slta,  has 
its  prototype  in  the  stealing  of  the  cows  recovered  by 
Indra.  Hanumat,  the  chief  of  the  monkeys  and  Rama's 
ally  in  the  recovery  of  Slta,  is  the  son  of  the  wind-god, 
with  the  patronymic  Maruti,  and  is  described  as  flying 
hundreds  of  leagues  through  the  air  to  find  Slta.  Hence 
in  his  figure  perhaps  survives  a  reminiscence  of  Indra's 
alliance  with  the  Maruts  in  his  conflict  with  Vritra,  and 


of  the  dog  Sarama,  who,  as  Indra's  messenger,  crosses 
the  waters  of  the  Rasa  and  tracks  the  cows.  Sarama 
recurs  as  the  name  of  a  demoness  who  consoles  Slta  in 
her  captivity.  The  name  of  Hanumat  being  Sanskrit,  the 
character  is  probably  not  borrowed  from  the  aborigines. 
As  Hanumat  is  at  the  present  day  the  tutelary  deity  of 
village  settlements  all  over  India,  Prof.  Jacobi's  surmise 
that  he  must  have  been  connected  with  agriculture, 
and  may  have  been  a  genius  of  the  monsoon,  has  some 

The  main  story  of  theRdmayana  begins  with  an  account  " 
of  the  city  of  Ayodhya  under  the  rule  of  the  mighty 
King  Dacaratha,  the  sons  of  whose  three  wives,  Kaucalya, 
Kaikeyl,  and  Sumitra,  are  Rama,  Bharata,  and  Laksh- 
mana  respectively.  Rama  is  married  to  Slta,  daughter 
of  Janaka,  king  of  Videha.  Dacaratha,  feeling  the 
approach  of  old  age,  one  day  announces  in  a  great 
assembly  that  he  desires  to  make  Rama  heir-apparent, 
an  announcement  received  with  general  rejoicing  be- 
cause of  Rama's  great  popularity.  Kaikeyl,  meanwhile, 
wishing  her  son  Bharata  to  succeed,  reminds  the  king 
that  he  had  once  offered  her  the  choice  of  two  boons, 
of  which  she  had  as  yet  not  availed  herself.  When 
Dacaratha  at  last  promises  to  fulfil  whatever  she  may 
desire,  Kaikeyl  requests  him  to  appoint  Bharata  his 
successor,  and  to  banish  Rama  for  fourteen  years.  The 
king,  having  in  vain  implored  her  to  retract,  passes  a 
sleepless  night.  Next  day,  when  the  solemn  consecra- 
tion of  Rama  is  to  take  place,  Dacaratha  sends  for  his 
son  and  informs  him  of  his  fate.  Rama  receives  the 
news  calmly  and  prepares  to  obey  his  father's  com- 
mand as  his  highest  duty.  Slta  and  Lakshmana  resolve 
on  sharing  his  fortunes,  and  accompany  him  in  his  exile. 


The  aged  king,  overcome  with  grief  at  parting  from  his 
son,  withdraws  from  Kaikeyl,  and  passing  the  remainder 
of  his  days  with  Rama's  mother,  Kaucalya,  finally  dies 
lamenting  for  his  banished  son.  Rama  has  meanwhile 
lived  peacefully  and  happily  with  Sita  and  his  brother  in 
the  wild  forest  of  Dandaka.  On  the  death  of  the- old 
king,  Bharata,  who  in  the  interval  has  lived  with  the 
parents  of  his  mother,  is  summoned  to  the  throne.  Re- 
fusing the  succession  with  noble  indignation,  he  sets  out 
for  the  forest  in  order  to  bring  Rama  back  to  Ayodhya. 
Rama,  though  much  moved  by  his  brother's  request, 
declines  to  return  because  he  must  fulfil  his  vow  of  exile. 
Taking  off  his  gold-embroidered  shoes,  he  gives  them  to 
Bharata  as  a  sign  that  he  hands  over  his  inheritance  to 
him.  Bharata  returning  to  Ayodhya,  places  Rama's  shoes 
on  the  throne,  and  keeping  the  royal  umbrella  over  them, 
holds  council  and  dispenses  justice  by  their  side. 

Rama  now  sets  about  the  task  of  combating  the 
formidable  giants  that  infest  the  Dandaka  forest  and 
are  a  terror  to  the  pious  hermits  settled  there.  Having, 
by  the  advice  of  the  sage  Agastya,  procured  the  weapons 
of  India,  he  begins  a  successful  conflict,  in  which  he 
slays  many  thousands  of  demons.  Their  chief,  Ravana, 
enraged  and  determined  on  revenge,  turns  one  of  his 
followers  into  a  golden  deer,  which  appears  to  Sita. 
While  Rama  and  Lakshmana  are  engaged,  at  her  re- 
quest, in  pursuit  of  it,  Ravana  in  the  guise  of  an  ascetic 
approaches  Sita,  carries  her  off  by  force,  and  wounds 
the  vulture  Jatayu,  which  guards  her  abode.  Rama  on 
his  return  is  seized  with  grief  and  despair;  but,  as  he 
is  burning  the  remains  of  the  vulture,  a  voice  from 
the  pyre  proclaims  to  him  how  he  can  conquer  his 
foes  and  recover  his  wife.     He  now  proceeds  to  con- 


elude  a  solemn  alliance  with  the  chiefs  of  the  monkeys, 
Hanumat  and  Sugrlva.  With  the  help  of  the  latter, 
Rama  slays  the  terrible  giant  Bali.  Hanumat  mean- 
while crosses  from  the  mainland  to  the  island  of  Lanka, 
the  abode  of  Ravana,  in  search  of  Slta.  Here  he  finds 
her  wandering  sadly  in  a  grove  and  announces  to  her 
that  deliverance  is  at  hand.  After  slaying  a  number  of 
demons,  he  returns  and  reports  his  discovery  to  Rama. 
A  plan  of  campaign  is  now  arranged.  The  monkeys 
having  miraculously  built  a  bridge  from  the  continent 
to  Lanka  with  the  aid  of  the  god  of  the  sea,  Rama 
leads  his  army  across,  slays  Ravana,  and  wins  back  Slta. 
After  she  has  purified  herself  from  the  suspicion  of  in- 
fidelity by  the  ordeal  of  fire,  Rama  joyfully  returns  with 
her  to  Ayodhya,  where  he  reigns  gloriously  in  associa- 
tion with  his  faithful  brother  Bharata,  and  gladdens  his 
subjects  with  a  new  golden  age. 

Such  in  bare  outline  is  the  main  story  of  the  Rdma- 
yana.  By  the  addition  of  the  first  and  last  books  Val- 
miki's  epic  has  in  the  following  way  been  transformed 
into  a  poem  meant  to  glorify  the  god  Vishnu.  Ravana, 
having  obtained  from  Brahma  the  boon  of  being  in- 
vulnerable to  gods,  demigods,  and  demons,  abuses  his 
immunity  in  so  terrible  a  manner  that  the  gods  are  re- 
duced to  despair.  Bethinking  themselves  at  last  that 
Ravana  had  in  his  arrogance  forgotten  to  ask  that  he 
should  not  be  wounded  by  men,  they  implore  Vishnu 
to  allow  himself  to  be  born  as  a  man  for  the  destruction 
of  the  demon.  Vishnu,  consenting,  is  born  as  Rama, 
and  accomplishes  the  task.  At  the  end  of  the  seventh 
book  Brahma  and  the  other  gods  come  to  Rama,  pay 
homage  to  him,  and  proclaim  that  he  is  really  Vishnu, 
"the  glorious  lord  of  the  discus."     The  belief  here  ex- 


pressed  that  Rama  is  an  incarnation  of  Vishnu,  the 
highest  god,  has  secured  to  the  hero  of  our  epic  the 
worship  of  the  Hindus  down  to  the  present  day.  That 
belief,  forming  the  fundamental  doctrine  of  the  religious 
system  of  Ramanuja  in  the  twelfth  and  of  Ramananda 
in  the  fourteenth  century,  has  done  much  to  counteract 
the  spread  of  the  degrading  superstitions  and  impurities 
of  ^ivaism  both  in  the  South  and  in  the  North  of  India. 

The  Rdmdyana  contains  several  interesting  episodes, 
though,  of  course,  far  fewer  than  the  Mahdbhdrata.  One 
of  them,  a  thoroughly  Indian  story,  full  of  exaggera- 
tions and  impossibilities,  is  the  legend,  told  in  Book  I., 
of  the  descent  of  the  Ganges.  It  relates  how  the  sacred 
river  was  brought  down  from  heaven  to  earth  in  order 
to  purify  the  remains  of  the  60,000  sons  of  King  Sagara, 
who  were  reduced  to  ashes  by  the  sage  Kapila  when 
his  devotions  were  disturbed  by  them. 

Another  episode  (i.  52-65)  is  that  of  Vicvamitra,  a 
powerful  king,  who  comes  into  conflict  with  the  great  sage 
Vasishtha  by  endeavouring  to  take  away  his  miraculous 
cow  by  force.  Vicvamitra  then  engages  in  mighty  pen- 
ances, in  which  he  resists  the  seductions  of  beautiful 
nymphs,  and  which  extend  over  thousands  of  years, 
till  he  finally  attains  Brahmanhood,  and  is  reconciled 
with  his  rival,  Vasishtha. 

The  short  episode  which  relates  the  origin  of  the 
qloka  metre  is  one  of  the  most  attractive  and  poetical. 
Valmlki  in  his  forest  hermitage  is  preparing  to  describe 
worthily  the  fortunes  of  Rama.  While  he  is  watching 
a  fond  pair  of  birds  on  the  bank  of  the  river,  the  male 
is  suddenly  shot  by  a  hunter,  and  falls  dead  on  the 
ground,  weltering  in  his  blood.  Valmlki,  deeply  touched 
by  the  grief  of  the  bereaved  female,  involuntarily  utters 


words  lamenting  the  death  of  her  mate  and  threatening 
vengeance  on  the  wicked  murderer.  But,  strange  to 
tell,  his  utterance  is  no  ordinary  speech  and  flows  in 
a  melodious  stream.  As  he  wanders,  lost  in  thought, 
towards  his  hut,  Brahma  appears  and  announces  to  the 
poet  that  he  has  unconsciously  created  the  rhythm  of 
the  qloka  metre.  The  deity  then  bids  him  compose  in 
this  measure  the  divine  poem  on  the  life  and  deeds  of 
Rama.  This  story  may  have  a  historical  significance, 
for  it  indicates  with  some  probability  that  the  classical 
form  of  the  gloka  was  first  fixed  by  Valmlki,  the  author 
of  the  original  part  of  the  Rdmdyana. 

The  epic  contains  the  following  verse  foretelling  its 
everlasting  fame  : — 

As  long  as  mountain  ranges  stand 
And  rivers  flow  upon  the  earth  : 
So  long  will  this  Rdmdyana 
Survive  upon  the  lips  of  men. 

This  prophecy  has  been  perhaps  even  more  abun- 
dantly fulfilled  than  the  well-known  prediction  of 
Horace.  No  product  of  Sanskrit  literature  has  enjoyed 
a  greater  popularity  in  India  down  to  the  present  day 
than  the  Rdmdyana.  Its  story  furnishes  the  subject  of 
many  other  Sanskrit  poems  as  well  as  plays,  and  still 
delights,  from  the  lips  of  reciters,  the  hearts  of  myriads 
of  the  Indian  people,  as  at  the  great  annual  Rama 
festival  held  at  Benares.  It  has  been  translated  into 
many  Indian  vernaculars.  Above  all,  it  inspired  the 
greatest  poet  of  mediaeval  Hindustan,  Tulsl  Das,  to  com- 
pose in  Hindi  his  version  of  the  epic  entitled  Ram 
Charit  Manas,  which,  with  its  ideal  standard  of  virtue 
and  purity,  is  a  kind  of  bible  to  a  hundred  millions  of 
the  people  of  Northern  India. 



{Circa  200  B.C.-noo  A.D.) 

The  real  history  of  the  Kavya,  or  artificial  epic  poetry  of 
India,  does  not  begin  till  the  first  half  of  the  seventh  cen- 
tury A.D.,  with  the  reign  of  King  Harsha-vardhana  of  Than- 
ecar  and  Kanauj  (606-648),  who  ruled  over  the  whole  of 
Northern  India,  and  under  whose  patronage  Bana  wrote 
his  historical  romance,  Harsha-charita,  and  other  works. 
The  date  of  no  Kavya  before  this  landmark  has  as  yet 
been  fixed  with  certainty.  One  work,  however,  which 
is  dominated  by  the  Kavya  style,  the  Brihatsamhitd  of 
the  astronomer  Varahamihira,  can  without  hesitation  be 
assigned  to  the  middle  of  the  sixth  century.  But  as  to 
the  date  of  the  most  famous  classical  poets,  Kalidasa, 
Subandhu,  Bharavi,  Gunadhya,  and  others,  we  have  no 
historical  authority.  The  most  definite  statement  that 
can  be  made  about  them  is  that  their  fame  was  widely 
diffused  by  about  600  A.D.,  as  is  attested  by  the  way  in 
which  their  names  are  mentioned  in  Bana  and  in  an 
inscription  of  634  A.D.  Some  of  them,  moreover,  like 
Gunadhya,  to  whose  work  Subandhu  repeatedly  alludes, 
must  certainly  belong  to  a  much  earlier  time.  The 
scanty  materials  supplied  by  the  poets  themselves,  which 
might  help  to  determine  their  dates,  are  difficult  to  utilise, 

because  the  history  of   India,  both  political  and  social, 



during  the  first  five  centuries  of  our  era,  is  still  involved 
in  obscurity. 

With  regard  to  the  age  of  court  poetry  in  general, 
we  have  the  important  literary  evidence  of  the  quota- 
tions in  Patanjali's  Mahdbhdshya,  which  show  that  Kavya 
flourished  in  his  day,  and  must  have  been  developed 
before  the  beginning  of  our  era.  Several  of  these  quoted 
verses  are  composed  in  the  artificial  metres  of  the 
classical  poetry,  while  the  heroic  anushtubh  qlokas  agree 
in  matter  as  well  as  form,  not  with  the  popular,  but  with 
the  court  epics. 

We  further  know  that  Acvaghosha's  Buddha-charita, 
or  "  Doings  of  Buddha,"  was  translated  into  Chinese 
between  414  and  421  A.D.  This  work  not  only  calls 
itself  a  mahdkdvya,  or  "  great  court  epic,"  but  is  actually 
written  in  the  Kavya  style.  Acvaghosha  was,  accord- 
ing to  the  Buddhist  tradition,  a  contemporary  of  King 
Kanishka,  and  would  thus  belong  to  the  first  century 
A.D.  In  any  case,  it  is  evident  that  his  poem  could  not 
have  been  composed  later  than  between  350  and  400 
A.D.  The  mere  fact,  too,  that  a  Buddhist  monk  thus 
early  conceived  the  plan  of  writing  the  legend  of  Buddha 
according  to  the  rules  of  the  classical  Sanskrit  epic 
shows  how  popular  the  Brahmanical  artificial  poetry 
must  have  become,  at  any  rate  by  the  fourth  century 
A.D.,  and  probably  long  before. 

The  progress  of  epigraphic  research  during  the  last 
quarter  of  a  century  has  begun  to  shed  considerable  light 
on  the  history  of  court  poetry  during  the  dark  age  em- 
bracing the  first  five  centuries  of  our  era.  Mr.  Fleet's 
third  volume  of  the  Corpus  Inscriptionum  Indicarum  con- 
tains no  fewer  than  eighteen  inscriptions  of  importance 
in  this  respect.     These  are  written  mostly  in  verse,  but 


partly  also  in  elevated  prose.  They  cover  a  period  of 
two  centuries,  from  about  350  to  550  A.D.  Most  of  them 
employ  the  Gupta  era,  beginning  A.D.  319,  and  first  used 
by  Chandragupta  II.,  named  Vikramaditya,  whose  in- 
scriptions and  coins  range  from  A.D.  400  to  413.  A  few 
of  them  employ  the  Malava  era,  the  earlier  name  of  the 
Vikrama  era,  which  dates  from  57  B.C.  Several  of  these 
inscriptions  are  praqastis  or  panegyrics  on  kings.  An 
examination  of  them  proves  that  the  poetical  style  pre- 
vailing in  the  fourth,  fifth,  and  sixth  centuries  did  not 
differ  from  that  of  the  classical  Kavyas  which  have  been 
preserved.  Samudragupta,  the  second  of  the  Gupta  line, 
who  belongs  to  the  second  half  of  the  fourth  century, 
was,  we  learn,  himself  a  poet,  as  well  as  a  supporter  of 
poets.  Among  the  latter  was  at  least  one,  by  name 
Harishena,  who  in  his  panegyric  on  his  royal  patron, 
which  consists  of  some  thirty  lines  (nine  stanzas)  of 
poetry  and  about  an  equal  number  of  lines  of  prose, 
shows  a  mastery  of  style  rivalling  that  of  Kalidasa  and 
Dandin.  In  agreement  with  the  rule  of  all  the  Sanskrit 
treatises  on  poetics,  his  prose  is  full  of  inordinately  long 
compounds,  one  of  them  containing  more  than  120 
syllables.  In  his  poetry  he,  like  Kalidasa  and  others, 
follows  the  Vidarbha  style,  in  which  the  avoidance  of 
long  compounds  is  a  leading  characteristic.  In  this 
style,  which  must  have  been  fully  developed  by  a.d.  300, 
is  also  written  an  inscription  by  Virasena,  the  minister 
of  Chandragupta  II.,  Samudragupta's  successor. 

A  very  important  inscription  dates  from  the  year  529 
of  the  Malava  (Vikrama)  era,  or  A.D.  473.  It  consists  of 
a  poem  of  no  fewer  than  forty-four  stanzas  (containing 
150  metrical  lines),  composed  by  a  poet  named  Vat- 
sabhatti,  to  commemorate  the  consecration  of  a  temple 


of  the  sun  at  Dacapura  (now  Mandasor).  A  detailed 
examination  of  this  inscription  not  only  leads  to  the  con- 
clusion that  in  the  fifth  century  a  rich  Kavya  literature 
must  have  existed,  but  in  particular  shows  that  the  poem 
has  several  affinities  with  Kalidasa's  writings.  The  latter 
fact  renders  it  probable  that  Vatsabhatti,  a  man  of 
inferior  poetic  talent,  who  professes  to  have  produced 
his  work  with  effort,  knew  and  utilised  the  poems  of 
Kalidasa.  The  reign  of  Chandragupta  Vikramaditya  II., 
at  the  beginning  of  the  fifth  century  A.D.,  therefore 
seems  in  the  meantime  the  most  probable  approximate 
date  for  India's  greatest  poet. 

Besides  the  epigraphic  evidence  of  the  Gupta  period, 
we  have  two  important  literary  prose  inscriptions  of  con- 
siderable length,  one  from  Girnar  and  the  other  from 
Nasik,  both  belonging  to  the  second  century  A.D.  They 
show  that  even  then  there  existed  a  prose  Kavya  style 
which,  in  general  character  and  in  many  details,  re- 
sembled that  of  the  classical  tales  and  romances.  For 
they  not  only  employ  long  and  frequent  compounds,  but 
also  the  ornaments  of  alliteration  and  various  kinds  of 
simile  and  metaphor.  Their  use  of  poetical  figures  is, 
however,  much  less  frequent  and  elaborate,  occasionally 
not  going  beyond  the  simplicity  of  the  popular  epic. 
They  are  altogether  less  artificial  than  the  prose  parts 
of  Harishena's  Kavya,  and  a  fortiori  than  the  works  of 
Dandin,  Subandhu,  and  Bana.  From  the  Girnar  in- 
scription it  appears  that  its  author  must  have  been  ac- 
quainted with  a  theory  of  poetics,  that  metrical  Kavyas 
conforming  to  the  rules  of  the  Vidarbha  style  were  com- 
posed in  his  day,  and  that  poetry  of  this  kind  was  culti- 
vated at  the  courts  of  princes  then  as  in  later  times.  It 
cannot  be  supposed  that  Kavya  literature  was  a  new  inven- 


tion  of  the  second  century  ;  it  must,  on  the  contrary,  have 
passed  through  a  lengthened  development  before  that 
time.  Thus  epigraphy  not  merely  confirms  the  evidence 
of  the  Mahabhdshya  that  artificial  court  poetry  originated 
before  the  commencement  of  our  era,  but  shows  that 
that  poetry  continued  to  be  cultivated  throughout  the 
succeeding  centuries. 

These  results  of  the  researches  of  the  late  Professor 
Biihler  and  of  Mr.  Fleet  render  untenable  Professor  Max 
Miiller's  well-known  theory  of  the  renaissance  of  Sanskrit 
literature  in  the  sixth  century,  which  was  set  forth  by 
that  scholar  with  his  usual  brilliance  in  India,  what  can 
it  Teach  us?  and  which  held  the  field  for  several  years. 

Professor  Max  Miiller's  preliminary  assertion  that  the 
Indians,  in  consequence  of  the  incursions  of  the  (^akas 
(Scythians)  and  other  foreigners,  ceased  from  literary 
activity  during  the  first  two  centuries  A.D.,  is  refuted  by 
the  evidence  of  the  last  two  inscriptions  mentioned  above. 
Any  such  interruption  of  intellectual  life  during  that 
period  is,  even  apart  from  epigraphical  testimony,  ren- 
dered highly  improbable  by  other  considerations.  The 
Scythians,  in  the  first  place,  permanently  subjugated 
only  about  one-fifth  of  India  ;  for  their  dominion,  which 
does  not  appear  to  have  extended  farther  east  than 
Mathura  (Muttra),  was  limited  to  the  Panjab,  Sindh, 
Gujarat,  Rajputana,  and  the  Central  Indian  Agency. 
The  conquerors,  moreover,  rapidly  became  Hinduised. 
Most  of  them  already  had  Indian  names  in  the  second 
generation.  One  of  them,  Ushabhadata  (the  Sanskrit 
Rishabhadatta),  described  his  exploits  in  an  inscrip- 
tion composed  in  a  mixture  of  Sanskrit  and  Prakrit. 
Kanishka  himself  (78  A.D.),  as  well  as  his  successors, 
was  a  patron  of  Buddhism  ;  and  national  Indian  archi- 


tecture  and  sculpture  attained  a  high  development  at 
Mathura  under  these  rulers.  When  the  invaders  thus 
rapidly  acquired  the  civilisation  of  the  comparatively 
small  portion  of  India  they  conquered,  there  is  no 
reason  to  assume  the  suppression  of  literary  activity  in 
that  part  of  the  country,  much  less  in  India  as  a  whole. 

The  main  thesis  of  Professor  Max  Miiller  is,  that  in 
the  middle  of  the  sixth  century  A.D.  the  reign  of  a  King 
Vikramaditya  of  Ujjain,  with  whom  tradition  connected 
the  names  of  Kalidasa  and  other  distinguished  authors, 
was  the  golden  age  of  Indian  court  poetry.  This 
renaissance  theory  is  based  on  Fergusson's  ingenious 
chronological  hypothesis  that  a  supposed  King  Vikrama 
of  Ujjain,  having  expelled  the  Scythians  from  India, 
in  commemoration  of  his  victory  founded  the  Vikrama 
era  in  544  A.D.,  dating  its  commencement  back  600 
years  to  57  B.C.  The  epigraphical  researches  Of  Mr. 
Fleet  have  destroyed  Fergusson's  hypothesis.  From 
these  researches  it  results  that  the  Vikrama  era  of  57  B.C., 
far  from  having  been  founded  in  544  A.D.,  had  already 
been  in  use  for  more  than  a  century  previously  under 
the  name  of  the  Malava  era  (which  came  to  be  called 
the  Vikrama  era  about  800  A.D.).  It  further  appears 
that  no  ^akas  (Scythians)  could  have  been  driven  out 
of  Western  India  in  the  middle  of  the  sixth  century, 
because  that  country  had  already  been  conquered  by 
the  Guptas  more  than  a  hundred  years  before.  Lastly, 
it  turns  out  that,  though  other  foreign  conquerors,  the 
Hunas,  were  actually  expelled  from  Western  India  in 
the  first  half  of  the  sixth  century,  they  were  driven  out, 
not  by  a  Vikramaditya,  but  by  a  king  named  Yaeo- 
dharman  Vishnuvardhana. 

Thus   the   great   King  Vikramaditya  vanishes   from 


the  historical  ground  of  the  sixth  century  into  the 
realm  of  myth.  With  Vikramaditya  an  often-quoted 
but  ill-authenticated  verse  occurring  in  a  work  of  the 
sixteenth  century  associates  Dhanvantari,  Kshapanaka, 
Amarasimha,  Varahamihira,  and  Vararuchi  as  among 
the  "  nine  gems  "  of  his  court.  With  the  disappearance 
of  Vikrama  from  the  sixth  century  A.D.  this  verse  has 
lost  all  chronological  validity  with  reference  to  the 
date  of  the  authors  it  enumerates ;  it  is  even  inad- 
missible to  conclude  from  such  legendary  testimony 
that  they  were  contemporaries.  Even  though  one  of 
them,  Varahamihira,  actually  does  belong  to  the  sixth 
century,  each  of  them  can  now  only  be  placed  in 
the  sixth  century  separately  and  by  other  arguments. 
Apart  from  the  mythical  Vikramaditya,  there  is  now 
no  reason  to  suppose  that  court  poetry  attained  a 
special  development  in  that  century,  for  Harishena's 
paneygyric,  and  some  other  epigraphic  poems  of  the 
Gupta  period,  show  that  it  flourished  greatly  at  least 
two  hundred  years  earlier. 

None  of  the  other  arguments  by  which  it  has 
been  attempted  to  place  Kalidasa  separately  in  the 
sixth  century  have  any  cogency.  One  of  the  chief 
of  these  is  derived  from  the  explanation  given  by 
the  fourteenth  -  century  commentator,  Mallinatha,  of 
the  word  digndga,  "  world-elephant,"  occurring  in  the 
14th  stanza  of  Kalidasa's  Meghaduta.  He  sees  in  it 
a  punning  allusion  to  Dignaga,  a  hated  rival  of  the 
poet.  This  explanation,  to  begin  with,  is  extremely 
dubious  in  itself.  Then  it  is  uncertain  whether  Malli- 
natha means  the  Buddhist  teacher  Dignaga.  Thirdly, 
little  weight  can  be  attached  to  the  Buddhistic  tradition 
that   Dignaga   was    a   pupil    of   Vasubandhu,    for    this 


statement  is  not  found  till  the  sixteenth  century. 
Fourthly,  the  assertion  that  Vasubandhu  belongs  to 
the  sixth  century  depends  chiefly  on  the  Vikramaditya 
theory,  and  is  opposed  to  Chinese  evidence,  which  in- 
dicates that  works  of  Vasubandhu  were  translated  in 
A.D.  404.  Thus  every  link  in  the  chain  of  this  argument 
is  very  weak. 

The  other  main  argument  is  that  Kalidasa  must  have 
lived  after  Aryabhata  (A.D.  499),  because  he  shows  a 
knowledge  of  the  scientific  astronomy  borrowed  from 
the  Greeks.  But  it  has  been  shown  by  Dr.  Thibaut 
that  an  Indian  astronomical  treatise,  undoubtedly 
written  under  Greek  influence,  the  Romaka  Siddhdnta, 
is  older  than  Aryabhata,  and  cannot  be  placed  later 
than  A.D.  400.  It  may  be  added  that  a  passage  of 
Kalidasa's  Raghuvamga  (xiv.  40)  has  been  erroneously 
adduced  in  support  of  the  astronomical  argument,  as 
implying  that  eclipses  of  the  moon  are  due  to  the 
shadow  of  the  earth  :  it  really  refers  only  to  the  spots 
in  the  moon  as  caused,  in  accordance  with  the  doctrine 
of  the  Puranas,  by  a  reflection  of  the  earth. 

Thus  there  is,  in  the  present  state  of  our  knowledge, 
good  reason  to  suppose  that  Kalidasa  lived  not  in  the 
sixth,  but  in  the  beginning  of  the  fifth  century  A.D. 
The  question  of  his  age,  however,  is  not  likely  to  be 
definitely  solved  till  the  language,  the  style,  and  the 
poetical  technique  of  each  of  his  works  have  been 
minutely  investigated,  in  comparison  with  datable  epi- 
graphic  documents,  as  well  as  with  the  rules  given  by 
the  oldest  Sanskrit  treatises  on  poetics. 

As    the    popular    epic    poetry    of    the    Mahdbhdrata 
was  the  chief  source  of  the  Puranas,  so  the  Rdmdyani 
the  earliest  artificial  epic,  was  succeeded,  though  after 


a  long  interval  of  time,  by  a  number  of  Kavyas  rang- 
ing from  the  fifth  to  the  twelfth  century.  While  in  the 
old  epic  poetry  form  is  subordinated  to  matter,  it  is  of 
primary  importance  in  the  Kavyas,  the  matter  becom- 
ing more  and  more  merely  a  means  for  the  display  of 
tricks  of  style.  The  later  the  author  of  a  Kavya  is,  the 
more  he  seeks  to  win  the  admiration  of  his  audience 
by  the  cleverness  of  his  conceits  and  the  ingenuity  of 
his  diction,  appealing  always  to  the  head  rather  than 
the  heart.  Even  the  very  best  of  the  Kavyas  were  com- 
posed in  more  strict  conformity,  with  fixed  rules  than 
the  poetry  of  any  other  country.  For  not  only  is  the 
language  dominated  by  the  grammatical  rules  of  Panini, 
but  the  style  is  regulated  by  the  elaborate  laws  about 
various  forms  of  alliteration  and  figures  of  speech  laid 
down  in  the  treatises  on  poetics. 

The  two  most  important  Kavyas  are  Kalidasa's  Raghu- 
vamqa  and  Kumdra  -  sambhavay  both  distinguished  by 
independence  of  treatment  as  well  as  considerable 
poetical  beauty.  They  have  several  stanzas  in  com- 
mon, many  others  which  offer  but  slight  variations,  and 
a  large  number  of  passages  which,  though  differing  in 
expression,  are  strikingly  analogous  in  thought.  In 
both  poems,  too,  the  same  metre  is  employed  to  de- 
scribe the  same  situation.  In  both  poems  each  canto 
is,  as  a  rule,  composed  in  one  metre,  but  changes  with 
the  beginning  of  the  new  canto.  The  prevailing  metres 
are  the  classical  form  of  the  anushtubh  and  the  upajdti, 
a  development  of  the  Vedic  trishtubh. 
^c  The  Raghuvam$a,  or  "  Race  of  Raghu,"  which  consists 
of  nineteen  cantos,  describes  the  life  of  Rama  together 
with  an  account  of  his  forefathers  and  successors.  The 
first  nine  cantos  deal  with  his  nearest  four  ancestors, 


beginning  with  Dillpa  and  his  son  Raghu.  The  story 
of  Rama  occupies  the  next  six  (x.-xv.),  and  agrees  pretty 
closely  with  that  in  the  Ramdyana  of  Valmlki,  whom 
Kalidasa  here  (xv.  41)  speaks  of  as  "the  first  poet." 
The  following  two  cantos  are  concerned  with  the 
three  nearest  descendants  of  Rama,  while  the  last  two 
run  through  the  remainder  of  twenty-four  kings  who 
reigned  in  Ayodhya  as  his  descendants,  ending  rather 
abruptly  with  the  death  of  the  voluptuous  King  Agni- 
varna.  The  names  of  these  successors  of  Rama  agree 
closely  with  those  in  the  list  given  in  the  Vishnu-pur  ana. 
The  narrative  in  the  Raghuvamca  moves  with  some 
rapidity,  not  being  too  much  impeded  by  long  de- 
scriptions. It  abounds  with  apt  and  striking  similes 
and  contains  much  genuine  poetry,  while  the  style, 
for  a  Kavya,  is  simple,  though  many  passages  are  un- 
doubtedly too  artificial  for  the  European  taste.  The 
following  stanza,  sung  by  a  bard  whose  duty  it  is  to 
waken  the  king  in  the  morning  (v.  75),  may  serve  as  a 
specimen — 

The  flowers  to  thee  presented  droop  and  fade, 
The  lamps  have  lost  the  wreath  of  rays  they  shed, 
Thy  sweet-voiced  parrot,  in  his  cage  confined, 
Repeats  the  call  we  sound  to  waken  thee. 

More  than  twenty  commentaries  on  the  Raghuvamca 
are  known.  The  most  famous  is  the  Samjlvani  of 
Mallinatha,  who  explains  every  word  of  the  text,  and 
who  has  the  great  merit  of  endeavouring  to  find  out 
and  preserve  the  readings  of  the  poet  himself.  He  knew 
a  number  of  earlier  commentaries,  among  which  he 
names  with  approval  those  of  Dakshinavarta  and  Natha. 
The  latter  no  longer  exist.  Among  the  other  extant 
commentaries  may  be  mentioned  the  Subodhini,  com- 


posed  by  Dinakara  Micra  in  1385,  and  the  £iguhitatshin&9 
by  a  Jain  named  Charitravardhana,  <ff  which  Dinakara's 
work  appears  to  be  an  epitome. 

The  Kumara-sambhava,  or  the  "  Birth  of  the  War- 
god,"  consists,  when  complete,  of  seventeen  cantos. 
The  first  ^seven  are  entirely  devoted  to  the  court- 
ship and  wedding  of  the  god  (Jiva  and  of  ParvatI, 
daughter  of  Himalaya,  the  parents  of  the  youthful  god. 
This  fact  in  itself  indicates  that  description  is  the 
prevailing  characteristic  of  the  poem.  It  abounds  in 
that  poetical  miniature  painting  in  which  lies  the  chief 
literary  strength  of  the  Indian.  Affording  the  poet  free 
scope  for  the  indulgence  of  his  rich  and  original  imagina- 
tive powers,  it  is  conspicuous  for  wealth  of  illustration. 
The  following  rendering  of  a  stanza  in  the  Viyoginl  metre 
(in  which  lines  of  ten  and  eleven  syllables  ending  iambi- 
cally  alternate)  may  serve  as  a  specimen.  The  poet 
shows  how  the  duty  of  a  wife  following  her  husband  in 
death  is  exemplified  even  by  objects  in  Nature  poetically 
conceived  as  spouses — 

After  the  Lord  of  Night  the  moonlight  goes, 
Along  with  the  cloud  the  lightning  is  dissolved : 
Wives  ever  follow  in  their  husbands'  path  j 
Even  things  bereft  of  sense  obey  this  law. 

Usually  the  first  seven  cantos  only  are  to  be  found  in 
the  printed  editions,  owing  to  the  excessively  erotic 
character  of  the  remaining  ten.  The  poem  concludes 
with  an  account  of  the  destruction  of  the  demon  Taraka, 
the  object  for  which  the  god  of  war  was  born. 

More  than  twenty  commentaries  on  the  Kumara- 
sambJiava  have  been  preserved.  Several  of  them  are  by 
the  same  authors,  notably  Mallinatha,  as  those  on  the 


The  subject-matter  of  the  later  Kavyas,  which  is 
derived  from  the  two  great  epics,  becomes  more  and 
more  mixed  up  with  lyric,  erotic,  and  didactic  elements. 
It  is  increasingly  regarded  as  a  means  for  the  display  of 
elaborate  conceits,  till  at  last  nothing  remains  but  bom- 
bast and  verbal  jugglery.  The  Bhatti-kdvya,  written 
in  Valabhl  under  King  (^rldharasena,  probably  in  the 
seventh  century,  and  ascribed  by  various  commentators 
to  the  poet  and  grammarian  Bhartrihari  (died  651  A.D.), 
deals  in  22  cantos  with  the  story  of  Rama,  but  only  with 
the  object  of  illustrating  the  forms  of  Sanskrit  grammar. 

The  Kirdtdrjiinlya  describes,  in  eighteen  cantos,  the 
combat,  first  narrated  in  the  Mahdbhdrata,  between  (Jiva, 
in  the  guise  of  a  Kirdta  or  mountaineer,  and  Arjuna.  It 
cannot  have  been  composed  later  than  the  sixth  century, 
as  its  author,  Bharavi,  is  mentioned  in  an  inscription  of 
634  A.D.  The  fifteenth  canto  of  this  poem  contains 
a  number  of  stanzas  illustrating  all  kinds  of  verbal 
tricks  like  those  described  in  Dandin's  Kdvyddarqa.  Thus 
one  stanza  (14)  contains  no  consonant  but  n  (excepting 
a  /  at  the  end) ; 1  while  each  half-line  in  a  subsequent 
one  (25),  if  its  syllables  be  read  backwards,  is  identical 
with  the  other  half.2 

The  £iqupdla-vadhay  or  "  Death  of  (^icupala,"  describes, 
in  twenty  cantos,  how  that  prince,  son  of  a  king  of  Chedi, 
and  cousin  of  Krishna,  was  slain  by  Vishnu.  Having 
been  composed  by  the  poet  Magha,  it  also  goes  by  the 
name  of  Mdgha-kdvya.  It  probably  dates  from  the  ninth, 
and  must  undoubtedly  have  been  composed  before  the 
end  of  the  tenth  century.     The  nineteenth  canto  is  full 

1  Na  nonanunno  nunnono  nana  ndnanand  nanu 
Nunno  'nunno  nanunneno  ndnend  nunnanunnanut. 
2  Devdkanini  kdvdde,  &c. 


of  metrical  puzzles,  some  of  a  highly  complex  character 
(e.g.  29).  It  contains  an  example  of  a  stanza  (34)  which, 
if  read  backwards,  is  identical  with  the  preceding  one 
read  in  the  ordinary  way.  At  the  same  time  this  Kavya 
is,  as  a  whole,  by  no  means  lacking  in  poetical  beauties 
and  striking  thoughts. 

The  Naishadhlya  (also  called  Naishadha-charita),  in 
twenty-two  cantos,  deals  with  the  story  of  Nala,  king  of 
Nishada,  the  well-known  episode  of  the  Mahdbhdrata. 
It  was  composed  by  Criharsha,  who  belongs  to  the  latter 
half  of  the  twelfth  century. 

These  six  artificial  epics  are  recognised  as  Mahd- 
kdvyas,  or  "  Great  Poems,"  and  have  all  been  commented 
on  by  Mallinatha.  The  characteristics  of  this  higher  class 
are  set  forth  by  Dandin  in  his  Kdvyddarga,  or  "  Mirror 
of  Poetry  "  (i.  14-19).  Their  subjects  must  be  derived  r 
from  epic  story  (itihdsd),  they  should  be  extensive,  and 
ought  to  be  embellished  with  descriptions  of  cities,  seas, 
mountains,  seasons,  sunrise,  weddings,  battles  fought  by 
the  hero,  and  so  forth. 

An  extensive  Mahakavya,  in  fifty  cantos,  is  the  Hara- 
vijaya,  or  "  Victory  of  (Jiva,"  by  a  Kashmirian  poet  named 
Ratnakara,  who  belongs  to  the  ninth  century. 

Another  late  epic,  narrating  the  fortunes  of  the  same 
hero  as  the  Naishadlfiya,  is  the  Nalodaya,  or  "  Rise  of 
Nala,"  which  describes  the  restoration  to  power  of  King 
Nala  after  he  had  lost  his  all.  Though  attributed  to 
Kalidasa,  it  is  unmistakably  the  product  of  a  much  later 
age.  The  chief  aim  of  the  author  is  to  show  off  his 
skill  in  the  manipulation  of  the  most  varied  and  artificial 
metres,  as  well  as  all  the  elaborate  tricks  of  style  exhibited 
in  the  latest  Kavyas.  Rhyme  even  is  introduced,  and  that, 
too,  not  only  at  the  end   of,  but  within  metrical  lines. 


The  really  epic  material  is  but  scantily  treated,  narrative 
making  way  for  long  descriptions  and  lyrical  effusions. 
Thus  the  second  and  longest  of  the  four  cantos  of  the 
poem  is  purely  lyrical,  describing  only  the  bliss  of  the 
newly-wedded  pair,  with  all  kinds  of  irrelevant  additions. 

The  culmination  of  artificiality  is  attained  by  the 
Rdghava-pdndaviya,  a  poem  composed  by  Kaviraja,  who 
perhaps  flourished  about  A.D.  800.  It  celebrates  simul- 
taneously the  actions  of  Raghava  or  Rama  and  of  the 
Pandava  princes.  The  composition  is  so  arranged  that  by 
the  use  of  ambiguous  words  and  phrases  the  story  of 
the  Rdmdyana  and  the  Mahdbhdrata  is  told  at  one  and  the 
same  time.  The  same  words,  according  to  the  sense  in 
which  they  are  understood,  narrate  the  events  of  each 
epic.  A  tour  de  force  of  this  kind  is  doubtless  unique 
in  the  literatures  of  the  world.  Kaviraja  has,  however, 
found  imitators  in  India  itself. 

A  Mahakavya  which  is  as  yet  only  known  in  MS.  is 
the  Navasdhasdnka-charita,  a  poem  celebrating  the  doings 
of  Navasahasanka,  otherwise  Sindhuraja,  a  king  of  Mal- 
ava,  and  composed  by  a  poet  named  Padmagupta,  who 
lived  about  1000  A.D.  It  consists  of  eighteen  cantos, 
containing  over  1500  stanzas  in  nineteen  different 
metres.  The  poet  refrains  from  the  employment  of 
metrical  tricks ;  but  he  greatly  impedes  the  progress  of 
the  narrative  by  introducing  interminable  speeches  and 
long-winded  descriptions. 

We  may  mention,  in  conclusion,  that  there  is  also  an 
epic  in  Prakrit  which  is  attributed  to  Kalidasa.  This  is 
the  Setu-bandhay  "  Building  of  the  Bridge,"  or  Rdvana- 
vadhay  "  Death  of  Ravana,"  which  relates  the  story  of 
Rama.  It  is  supposed  to  have  been  composed  by  the 
poet  to  commemorate  the  building  of  a  bridge  of  boats 



across  the    Vitasta    (Jhelum)  by   King   Pravarasena    of 

There  are  a  few  prose  romances  dating  from  the 
sixth  and  seventh  centuries,  which  being  classed  as 
Kavyas  by  the  Sanskrit  writers  on  poetics,  may  be  men- 
tioned in  this  place.  The  abundant  use  of  immense 
compounds,  which  of  course  makes  them  very  difficult 
reading,  is  an  essential  characteristic  of  the  style  of  these 
works.  As  to  their  matter,  they  contain  but  little  action, 
consisting  largely  of  scenes  which  are  strung  together  by 
a  meagre  thread  of  narrative,  and  are  made  the  occasion 
of  lengthy  descriptions  full  of  long  strings  of  compari- 
sons and  often  teeming  with  puns.  In  spite,  however, 
of  their  highly  artificial  and  involved  style,  many  really 
poetical  thoughts  may  be  found  embedded  in  what  to  the 
European  taste  is  an  unattractive  setting. 

The  Daga-kumdra-charita,  or  "  Adventures  of  the  Ten 
Princes,"  contains  stories  of  common  life  and  reflects  a 
corrupt  state  of  society.  It  is  by  Dandin,  and  probably 
dates  from  the  sixth  century  A.D.  Vdsavadattd,  by 
Subandhu,  relates  the  popular  story  of  the  heroine 
Vasavadatta,  princess  of  Ujjayini,  and  Udayana,  king  of 
Vatsa.  It  was  probably  written  quite  at  the  beginning  of 
the  seventh  century.  Slightly  later  is  Bana's  Kddambarf, 
a  poetical  romance  narrating  the  fortunes  of  a  princess 
of  that  name.  Another  work  of  a  somewhat  similar  charac- 
ter by  the  same  author  is  the  Harsha-charita,  a  romance 
in  eight  chapters,  in  which  Bana  attempts  to  give  some 
account  of  the  life  of  King  Harshavardhana  of  Kanauj. 
There  is,  however,  but  little  narrative.  Thus  in  twenty-five 
pages  of  the  eighth  chapter  there  are  to  be  found  five' 
long  descriptions,  extending  on  the  average  to  two  pages, 
to  say  nothing  of  shorter  ones.    There  is,  for  instance, 


a  long  disquisition,  covering  four  pages,  and  full  of 
strings  of  comparisons,  about  the  miseries  of  servitude. 
A  servant,  "  like  a  painted  bow,  is  for  ever  bent  in  the  one 
act  of  distending  a  string  of  imaginary  virtues,  but  there 
is  no  force  in  him ;  like  a  heap  of  dust-sweepings 
gathered  by  a  broom,  he  carries  off  toilet-leavings ; 
like  the  meal  offered  to  the  Divine  Mothers,  he  is  cast 
out  into  space  even  at  night ;  like  a  pumping  machine, 
he  has  left  all  weight  behind  him  and  bends  even  for 
water,"  and  so  on.  Soon  after  comes  a  description,  cover- 
ing two  pages,  of  the  trees  in  a  forest.  This  is  immedi- 
ately followed  by  another  page  enumerating  the  various 
kinds  of  students  thronging  the  wood  in  order  to  avail 
themselves  of  the  teaching  of  a  great  Buddhist  sage ; 
they  even  include  monkeys  busily  engaged  in  ritual 
ceremonies,  devout  parrots  expounding  a  Buddhist  dic- 
tionary, owls  lecturing  on  the  various  births  of  Buddha, 
and  tigers  who  have  given  up  eating  flesh  under  the 
calming  influence  of  Buddhist  teaching.  Next  comes  a 
page  describing  the  sage  himself.  "  He  was  clad  in  a 
very  soft  red  cloth,  as  if  he  were  the  eastern  quarter  of 
the  sky  bathed  in  the  morning  sunshine,  teaching  the 
other  quarters  to  assume  the  red  Buddhist  attire,  while 
they  were  flushed  with  the  pure  red  glow  of  his  body  like 
a  ruby  freshly  cut."  Soon  after  comes  a  long  account, 
bristling  with  puns,  of  a  disconsolate  princess  lying  pros- 
trate in  the  wood — "lost  in  the  forest  and  in  thought, 
bent  upon  death  and  the  root  of  a  tree,  fallen  upon 
calamity  and  her  nurse's  bosom,  parted  from  her  hus- 
band and  happiness,  burned  with  the  fierce  sunshine 
and  the  woes  of  widowhood,  her  mouth  closed  with 
silence  as  well  as  by  her  hand,  and  held  fast  by  her  com- 
panions as  well  as  by  grief.     I  saw  her  with  her  kindred 


and  her  graces  all  gone,  her  ears  and  her  soul  left  bare, 
her  ornaments  and  her  aims  abandoned,  her  bracelets 
and  her  hopes  broken,  her  companions  and  the  needle- 
like grass-spears  clinging  round  her  feet,  her  eye  and  her 
beloved  fixed  within  her  bosom,  her  sighs  and  her  hair 
long,  her  limbs  and  her  merits  exhausted,  her  aged  atten- 
dants and  her  streaming  tears  falling  down  at  her  feet," 
and  so  forth. 



(Circa  400-1100  A.D.) 

Sanskrit  lyrical  poetry  has  not  produced  many  works 
of  any  considerable  length.  But  among  these  are  in- 
cluded two  of  the  most  perfect  creations  of  Kalidasa,  a 
writer  distinguished  no  less  in  this  field  than  as  an  epic 
and  a  dramatic  author.  His  lyrical  talent  is,  indeed,  also 
sufficiently  prominent  in  his  plays. 

Kalidasa's  Meghadiita,  or  "  Cloud  Messenger/'  is  a 
lyrical  gem  which  won  the  admiration  of  Goethe.  It 
consists  of  115  stanzas  composed  in  the  Manddkrdnta 
metre  of  four  lines  of  seventeen  syllables.  The  theme 
is  a  message  which  an  exile  sends  by  a  cloud  to  his 
wife  dwelling  far  away.  The  idea  is  applied  by  Schiller 
in  his  Maria  Stuarty  where  the  captive  Queen  of  Scots 
calls  on  the  clouds  as  they  fly  southwards  to  greet  the 
land  of  her  youth  (act  hi.  sc.  1).  The  exile  is  a  Yaksha 
or  attendant  of  Kubera,  the  god  of  wealth,  who  for 
neglect  of  his  duty  has  been  banished  to  the  groves  on 
the  slopes  of  Ramagiri  in  Central  India.  Emaciated 
and  melancholy,  he  sees,  at  the  approach  of  the  rainy 
season,  a  dark  cloud  moving  northwards.  The  sight  fills 
his  heart  with  yearning,  and  impels  him  to  address  to  the 
cloud  a  request  to  convey  a  message  of  hope  to  his  wife 
in  the  remote  Himalaya.  In  the  first  half  of  the  poem  the 
Yaksha  describes  with  much  power  and  beauty  the  various 

scenes  the  cloud  must  traverse  on  its  northward  course  : 



Mount  Amrakuta,  on  whose  peak  it  will  rest  after 
quenching  with  showers  the  forest  fires  ;  the  Narmada, 
winding  at  the  foot  of  the  Vindhya  hills  ;  the  town  of 
Vidica  (Bhilsa),  and  the  stream  of  the  VetravatI  (Betwah)  ; 
the  city  of  UjjayinI  (Ujjain)  in  the  land  of  Avanti ;  the 
sacred  region  of  Kurukshetra ;  the  Ganges  and  the 
mountains  from  which  she  sprang,  white  with  snowfields, 
till  Alaka  on  Mount  Kailasa  is  finally  reached. 

In  the  second  half  of  the  poem  the  Yaksha  first  de- 
scribes the  beauties  of  this  city  and  his  own  dwelling 
there.  Going  on  to  paint  in  glowing  colours  the  charms  of 
his  wife,  her  surroundings,  and  her  occupations,  he  ima- 
gines her  tossing  on  her  couch,  sleepless  and  emaciated, 
through  the  watches  of  the  night.  Then,  when  her  eye 
rests  on  the  window,  the  cloud  shall  proclaim  to  her  with 
thunder-sound  her  husband's  message,  that  he  is  still 
alive  and  ever  longs  to  behold  her : — 

In  creepers  I  discern  thy  form,  in  eyes  of  startled  hinds  thy  glances, 
And  in  the  moon  thy  lovely  face,  in  peacocks'  plumes  thy  shining 

The  sportive  frown  upon  thy  brow  in  flowing  waters'  tiny  ripples: 
But  never  in  one  place  combined  can  I,  alas  /  behold  thy  likeness. 

But  courage,  he  says ;  our  sorrow  will  end  at  last — we 
shall  be  re-united — 

And  then  we  will  our  hearts'  desire,  grown  more  intense  by 

Enjoy  in  nights  all  glorioles  and  bright,  with  full-orbed  autmnn 


Then  begging  the  cloud,  after  delivering  his  message, 
to  return  with  reassuring  news,  the  exile  finally  dismisses 
him  with  the  hope  that  he  may  never,  even  for  a  moment, 
be  divided  from  his  lightning  spouse. 


Besides  the  expression  of  emotion,  the  descriptive 
element  is  very  prominent  in  this  fine  poem.  This  is 
still  more  true  of  Kalidasa's  Ritusamhdra,  or  "Cycle  of 
the  Seasons."  That  little  work,  which  consists  of 
153  stanzas  in  six  cantos,  and  is  composed  in  various 
metres,  is  a  highly  poetical  description  of  the  six 
seasons  into  which  classical  Sanskrit  poets  usually 
divide  the  Indian  year.  With  glowing  descriptions 
of  the  beauties  of  Nature,  in  which  erotic  scenes 
are  interspersed,  the  poet  adroitly  interweaves  the 
expression  of  human  emotions.  Perhaps  no  other  work 
of  Kalidasa's  manifests  so  strikingly  the  poet's  deep 
sympathy  with  Nature,  his  keen  powers  of  observation, 
and  his  skill  in  depicting  an  Indian  landscape  in  vivid 

The  poem  opens  with  an  account  of  summer.  If  the 
glow  of  the  sun  is  then  too  great  during  the  day,  the 
moonlit  nights  are  all  the  more  delightful  to  lovers.  The 
moon,  beholding  the  face  of  beauteous  maidens,  is  beside 
itself  with  jealousy  ;  then,  too,  it  is  that  the  heart  of  the 
wanderer  is  burnt  by  the  fire  of  separation.  Next  follows 
a  brilliant  description  of  the  effects  of  the  heat :  the  thirst 
or  lethargy  it  produces  in  serpent,  lion,  elephant,  buffalo, 
boar,  gazelle,  peacock,  crane,  frogs,  and  fishes ;  the 
devastation  caused  by  the  forest  fire  which  devours  trees 
and  shrubs,  and  drives  before  it  crowds  of  terror-stricken 

The  close  heat  is  succeeded  by  the  rains,  which  are 
announced  by  the  approach  of  the  dark  heavy  clouds 
with  their  banner  of  lightning  and  drum  of  thunder. 
Slowly  they  move  accompanied  by  chdtaka  birds,  fabled 
to  live  exclusively  on  raindrops,  till  at  length  they  dis- 
charge their  water.     The  wild  streams,  like  wanton  girls, 


grasp  in  a  trice  the  tottering  trees  upon  their  banks,  as 
they  rush  onwards  to  the  sea.  The  earth  becomes 
covered  with  young  blades  of  grass,  and  the  forests  clothe 
themselves  with  golden  buds — 

The  mountains  fill  the  soul  with  yearning  thoughts  of  love, 
When  rain-charged  clouds  bend  down  to  kiss  the  towering  rocks, 
When  all  around  upon  their  slopes  the  streams  gush  down, 
And  throngs  of  peacocks  that  begin  to  dance  are  seen. 

Next  comes  the  autumn,  beauteous  as  a  newly- wedded 
bride,  with  face  of  full-blown  lotuses,  with  robe  of  sugar- 
cane and  ripening  rice,  with  the  cry  of  flamingoes  repre- 
senting the  tinkling  of  her  anklets.  The  graceful  creepers 
vie  with  the  arms  of  lovely  women,  and  the  jasmine, 
showing  through  the  crimson  acoka  blossoms,  rivals  the 
dazzling  teeth  and  red  lips  of  smiling  maidens. 

Winter  follows,  when  the  rice  ripens,  while  the  lotus 
fades  and  the  fields  in  the  morning  are  covered  with 
rime — 

Then  the  Priyangu  creeper,  reaching  ripeness, 

Buffeted  constantly  by  chilling  breezes, 

Grows,  O  Beloved,  ever  pale  and  paler, 

Like  lonely  ?naiden  fro?n  her  lover  parted. 

This  is  the  time  dear  to  lovers,  whose  joys  the  poet 
describes  in  glowing  colours. 

In  the  cold  season  a  fire  and  the  mild  rays  of  the 
sun  are  pleasant.  The  night  does  not  attract  lovers 
now,  for  the  moonbeams  are  cold  and  the  light  of  the 
stars  is  pale. 

The  poet  dwells  longest  on  the  delights  of  spring,  the 
last  of  the  six  seasons.  It  is  then  that  maidens,  with 
karnikara  flowers  on  their  ears,  with  red  aqoka  blossoms 
and  sprays  of  jasmine  in  their  locks,  go  to  meet  their 
lovers.    Then  the  hum  of  intoxicated  bees  is  heard,  and 


the  note  of  the  Indian  cuckoo  ;  then  the  blossoms  of  the 
mango-tree  are  seen  :  these  are  the  sharp  arrows  where- 
with the  god  of  the  flowery  bow  enflames  the  hearts  of 
maidens  to  love. 

A  lyric  poem  of  a  very  artificial  character,  and  con- 
sisting of  only  twenty-two  stanzas,  is  the  Ghata-karpara, 
or  "  Potsherd,"  called  after  the  author's  name,  which  is 
worked  into  the  last  verse.  The  date  of  the  poet  is 
unknown.  He  is  mentioned  as  one  of  the  "  nine  gems  " 
at  the  court  of  the  mythical  Vikramaditya  in  the  verse 
already  mentioned. 

The  Chaura-panchdqikd,  or  "Fifty  Stanzas  of  the  Thief," 
is  a  lyrical  poem  which  contains  many  beauties.  Its 
author  was  the  Kashmirian  Bilhana,  who  belongs  to  the 
later  half  of  the  eleventh  century.  According  to  the 
romantic  tradition,  this  poet  secretly  enjoyed  the  love  of 
a  princess,  and  wThen  found  out  was  condemned  to  death. 
He  thereupon  composed  fifty  stanzas,  each  beginning 
with  the  words  "  Even  now  I  remember,"  in  which  he 
describes  with  glowing  enthusiasm  the  joys  of  love  he 
had  experienced.  Their  effect  on  the  king  was  so  great 
that  he  forgave  the  poet  and  bestowed  on  him  the  hand 
of  his  daughter. 

The  main  bulk  of  the  lyrical  creations  of  mediaeval 
India  are  not  connected  poems  of  considerable  length, 
but  consist  of  that  miniature  painting  which,  as  with  a  few 
strokes,  depicts  an  amatory  situation  or  sentiment  in 
a  single  stanza  of  four  lines.  These  lyrics  are  in  many 
respects  cognate  to  the  sententious  poetry  which  the 
Indians  cultivated  with  such  eminent  success.  Bearing 
evidence  of  great  wealth  of  observation  and  depth 
of  feeling,  they  are  often  drawn  by  a  master-hand. 
Many  of  them  are  in  matter  and  form  gems  of  perfect 


beauty.  Some  of  their  charm  is,  however,  lost  in  trans- 
lation owing  to  the  impossibility  of  reproducing  the 
elaborate  metres  employed  in  the  original.  Several 
Sanskrit  poets  composed  collections  of  these  miniature 

The  most  eminent  of  these  authors  is  Bhartrihari, 
grammarian,  philosopher,  and  poet  in  one.  Only  the 
literary  training  of  India  could  make  such  a  combina- 
tion possible,  and  even  there  it  has  hardly  a  parallel. 
Bhartrihari  lived  in  the  first  half  of  the  seventh  century. 
The  Chinese  traveller  I  Tsing,  who  spent  more  than 
twenty  years  in  India  at  the  end  of  that  century,  re- 
cords that,  having  turned  Buddhist  monk,  the  poet 
again  became  a  layman,  and  fluctuated  altogether  seven 
times  between  the  monastery  and  the  world.  Bhartrihari 
blamed  himself  for,  but  could  not  overcome,  his  incon- 
stancy. He  wrote  three  centuries  of  detached  stanzas. 
Of  the  first  and  last,  which  are  sententious  in  character, 
there  will  be  occasion  to  say  something  later.  Only 
the  second,  entitled  (^ringdra-qataka,  or  "Century  of 
Love,"  deals  with  erotic  sentiment.  Here  Bhartrihari,  in 
graceful  and  meditative  verse,  shows  himself  to  be  well 
acquainted  both  with  the  charms  of  women  and  with 
the  arts  by  which  they  captivate  the  hearts  of  men. 
Who,  he  asks  in  one  of  these  miniature  poems,  is  not 
filled  with  yearning  thoughts  of  love  in  spring,  when 
the  air  swoons  with  the  scent  of  the  mango  blossom 
and  is  filled  with  the  hum  of  bees  intoxicated  with 
honey?  In  another  he  avers  that  none  can  resist  the 
charms  of  lotus-eyed  maidens,  not  even  learned  men, 
whose  utterances  about  renouncing  love  are  mere  idle 
words.  The  poet  himself  laments  that,  when  his  beloved 
is  away,  the  brightness  goes  out  of  his  life— 


Beside  the  lamp,  the  flaming  hearth, 
In  light  of  sun  or  moon  and  stars, 
Without  my  dear  one's  lustrous  eyes 
This  world  is  wholly  dark  to  me. 

At  the  same  time  he  warns  the  unwary  against  reflecting 
over-much  on  female  beauty — 

Let  not  thy  thoughts,  O  Wanderer, 
Roam  in  that  forest,  woman's  form  : 
For  there  a  robber  ever  lurks, 
Ready  to  strike — the  God  of  Love. 

In  another  stanza  the  Indian  Cupid  appears  as  a 
fisherman,  who,  casting  on  the  ocean  of  this  world  a 
hook  called  woman,  quickly  catches  men  as  fishes  eager 
for  the  bait  of  ruddy  lips,  and  bakes  them  in  the  fire  of 

Strange  are  the  contradictions  in  which  the  poet 
finds  himself  involved  by  loving  a  maiden — 

Remembered  she  but  causes  pain ; 
At  sight  of  her  my  madness  grows; 
When  touched,  she  makes  my  senses  reel : 
How,  pray,  can  such  an  one  be  loved? 

So  towards  the  end  of  the  Century  the  poet's  heart 
begins  to  turn  from  the  allurements  of  love.  "Cease, 
maiden,"  he  exclaims,  "  to  cast  thy  glances  on  me :  thy 
trouble  is  in  vain.  I  am  an  altered  man  ;  youth  has 
gone  by  and  my  thoughts  are  bent  on  the  forest ;  my 
infatuation  is  over,  and  the  whole  world  I  now  account 
but  as  a  wisp  of  straw."  Thus  Bhartrihari  prepares 
the  way  for  his  third  collection,  the  "Century  of 

A  short  but  charming  treasury  of  detached  erotic 
verses  is  the  Qringdra-tilakay  which  tradition  attributes 


to  Kalidasa.  In  its  twenty-three  stanzas  occur  some 
highly  imaginative  analogies,  worked  out  with  much 
originality.  In  one  of  them,  for  instance,  the  poet  asks 
how  it  comes  that  a  maiden,  whose  features  and  limbs 
resemble  various  tender  flowers,  should  have  a  heart 
of  stone.  In  another  he  compares  his  mistress  to  a 
hunter — 

This  maiden  like  a  huntsman  is; 
Her  brow  is  like  the  bow  he  bends; 
Her  sidelong  glances  are  his  darts; 
My  heart's  the  antelope  she  slays. 

The  most  important  lyrical  work  of  this  kind  is  the 
Amaru-cataka,  or  u  Hundred  stanzas  of  Amaru."  The 
author  is  a  master  in  the  art  of  painting  lovers  in  all 
their  moods,  bliss  and  dejection,  anger  and  devotion. 
He  is  especially  skilful  in  depicting  the  various  stages 
of  estrangement  and  reconciliation.  It  is  remarkable 
how,  with  a  subject  so  limited,  in  situations  and  emo- 
tions so  similar,  the  poet  succeeds  in  arresting  the 
attention  with  surprising  turns  of  thought,  and  with 
subtle  touches  which  are  ever  new.  The  love  which 
Amaru  as  well  as  other  Indian  lyrists  portrays  is  not 
of  the  romantic  and  ideal,  but  rather  of  the  sensuous 
type.  Nevertheless  his  work  often  shows  delicacy  of  feel- 
ing and  refinement  of  thought.  Such,  for  instance,  is 
the  case  when  he  describes  a  wife  watching  in  the 
gloaming  for  the  return  of  her  absent  husband. 

Many  lyrical  gems  are  to  be  found  preserved  in  the 
Sanskrit  treatises  on  poetics.  One  such  is  a  stanza  on 
the  red  acoka.  In  this  the  poet  asks  the  tree  to  say 
whither  his  mistress  has  gone ;  it  need  not  shake  its 
head  in  the  wind,  as  if  to  say  it  did  not  know ;  for  how 


could  it  be  flowering  so  brilliantly  had  it  not  been 
touched  by  the  foot  of  his  beloved  ? 1 

In  all  this  lyrical  poetry  the  plant  and  animal  world 
plays  an  important  part  and  is  treated  with  much  charm. 
Of  flowers,  the  lotus  is  the  most  conspicuous.  One  of 
these  stanzas,  for  example,  describes  the  day-lotuses  as 
closing  their  calyx-eyes  in  the  evening,  because  unwilling 
to  see  the  sun,  their  spouse  and  benefactor,  sink  down 
bereft  of  his  rays.  Another  describes  with  pathetic 
beauty  the  dream  of  a  bee  :  "The  night  will  pass,  the 
fair  dawn  will  come,  the  sun  will  rise,  the  lotuses  will 
laugh  ; "  while  a  bee  thus  mused  within  the  calyx,  an 
elephant,  alas  !  tore  up  the  lotus  plant. 

Various  birds  to  which  poetical  myths  are  attached 
are  frequently  introduced  as  furnishing  analogies  to 
human  life  and  love.  The  chdtakay  which  would  rather 
die  of  thirst  than  drink  aught  but  the  raindrops  from 
the  cloud,  affords  an  illustration  of  pride.  The  chakora, 
supposed  to  imbibe  the  rays  of  the  moon,  affords  a  par- 
allel to  the  lover  who  with  his  eyes  drinks  in  the  beams 
of  his  beloved's  face.  The  chakravaka,  which,  fabled  to 
be  condemned  to  nocturnal  separation  from  his  mate, 
calls  to  her  with  plaintive  cry  during  the  watches  of  the 
night,  serves  as  an  emblem  of  conjugal  fidelity. 

In  all  this  lyric  poetry  the  bright  eyes  and  beauty 
of  Indian  girls  find  a  setting  in  scenes  brilliant  with 
blossoming  trees,  fragrant  with  flowers,  gay  with  the 
plumage  and  vocal  with  the  song  of  birds,  diversified 
with  lotus  ponds  steeped  in  tropical  sunshine  and  with 
large-eyed  gazelles  reclining  in  the  shade.  Some  of  its 
gems  are  well  worthy  of  having  inspired  the  genius  of 

1  Referring   to   the  poetical  belief  that   the  aqolca  only  blossoms  when 
struck  by  the  loot  of  a  beautiful  girl. 


Heine   to   produce  such   lyrics  as  Die  Lotosblume  and 
Auf  Fliigeln  des  Gesanges. 

A  considerable  amount  of  lyrical  poetry  of  the  same 
type  has  also  been  produced  in  Prakrit,  especially  in 
the  extensive  anthology  entitled  Saptacataka,  or  "  Seven 
Centuries,"  of  the  poet  Hala,  who  probably  lived  before 
A.D.  iooo.  It  contains  many  beauties,  and  is  altogether 
a  rich  treasury  of  popular  Indian  lyrical  poetry.  It  must 
suffice  here  to  refer  to  but  one  of  the  stanzas  contained 
in  this  collection.  In  this  little  poem  the  moon  is  de- 
scribed as  a  white  swan  sailing  on  the  pure  nocturnal 
lake  of  the  heavens,  studded  with  starry  lotuses. 
•^The  transitional  stage  between  pure  lyric  and  pure 
drama  is  represented  by  the  Gltagovinda,  or  "  Cowherd 
in  Song,"  a  lyrical  drama,  which,  though  dating  from 
the  twelfth  century,  is  the  earliest  literary  specimen  of 
a  primitive  type  of  play  that  still  survives  in  Bengal, 
and  must  have  preceded  the  regular  dramas.  The 
poem  contains  no  dialogue  in  the  proper  sense,  for 
its  three  characters  only  engage  in  a  kind  of  lyrical 
monologue,  of  which  one  of  the  other  two  is  sup- 
posed to  be  an  auditor,  sometimes  even  no  one  at  all. 
The  subject  of  the  poem  is  the  love  of  Krishna  for 
the  beautiful  cowherdess  Radha,  the  estrangement  of 
the  lovers,  and  their  final  reconciliation.  It  is  taken 
from  that  episode  of  Krishna's  life  in  which  he  himself 
was  a  herdsman  (go-vinda),  living  on  the  banks  of  the 
Yamuna,  and  enjoying  to  the  full  the  love  of  the  cow- 
herdesses.  The  only  three  characters  of  the  poem  are 
Krishna,  Radha,  and  a  confidante  of  the  latter. 

Its  author,  Jayadeva,  was  probably  a  native  of  Ben- 
gal, having  been  a  contemporary  of  a  Bengal  king 
named   Lakshmanasena.     It   is   probable   that   he   took 


as  his  model  popular  plays  representing  incidents  from 
the  life  of  Krishna,  as  the  modern  ydtrds  in  Bengal  still 
do.  The  latter  festival  plays  even  now  consist  chiefly 
of  lyrical  stanzas,  partly  recited  and  partly  sung,  the 
dialogue  being  but  scanty,  and  to  a  considerable  extent 
left  to  improvisation.  On  such  a  basis  Jayadeva  created 
his  highly  artificial  poem.  The  great  perfection  of  form 
he  has  here  attained,  by  combining  grace  of  diction 
with  ease  in  handling  the  most  difficult  metres,  has  not 
failed  to  win  the  admiration  of  all  who  are  capable  of 
reading  the  original  Sanskrit.  Making  abundant  use 
of  alliteration  and  the  most  complex  rhymes  occurring, 
as  in  the  Nalodaya,  not  only  at  the  end,  but  in  the 
middle  of  metrical  lines,1  the  poet  has  adapted  the  most 
varied  and  melodious  measures  to  the  expression  of 
exuberant  erotic  emotions,  with  a  skill  which  could  not 
be  surpassed.  It  seems  impossible  to  reproduce  Jaya- 
deva's  verse  adequately  in  an  English  garb.  The  German 
poet  Riickert,  has,  however,  come  as  near  to  the  highly 
artificial  beauty  of  the  original,  both  in  form  and  matter, 
as  is  feasible  in  any  translation. 

It  is  somewhat  strange  that  a  poem  which  describes 
the  transports  of  sensual  love  with  all  the  exuberance 
of  an  Oriental  fancy  should,  in  the  present  instance, 
and  not  for  the  first  time,  have  received  an  allegorical 
explanation  in  a  mystical  religious  sense.  According 
to  Indian  interpreters,  the  separation  of  Krishna  and 
Radha,  their  seeking  for  each  other,  and  their  final  re- 
conciliation represent  the  relation  of  the  supreme  deity 
to  the  human  soul.  This  may  possibly  have  been  the 
intention  of  Jayadeva,  though  only  as  a  leading  idea, 
not  to  be  followed  out  in  detail. 

1  E.g.  amala-kamala-dala-lochana  bhava-mochana. 


{Circa  400-1000  A.D.) 

To  the  European  mind  the  history  of  the  Indian  drama 
cannot  but  be  a  source  of  abundant  interest ;  for  here 
we  have  an  important  branch  of  literature  which  has 
had  a  full  and  varied  national  development,  quite  inde- 
pendent of  Western  influence,  and  which  throws  much 
light  on  Hindu  social  customs  during  the  five  or  six 
centuries  preceding  the  Muhammadan  conquest. 

The  earliest  forms  of  dramatic  literature  in  India 
are  represented  by  those  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  which 
contain  dialogues,  such  as  those  of  Sarama  and  the 
Panis,  Yama  and  Yarn!,  Pururavas  and  UrvacI,  the  latter, 
indeed,  being  the  foundation  of  a  regular  play  composed 
much  more  than  a  thousand  years  later  by  the  greatest 
dramatist  of  India.  The  origin  of  the  acted  drama  is, 
however,  wrapt  in  obscurity.  Nevertheless,  the  evidence 
of  tradition  and  of  language  suffice  to  direct  us  with 
considerable  probability  to  its  source. 

The  words   for   actor  (natd)  and   play  {ndtakd)  are 

derived   from  the  verb  nat,  the   Prakrit  or  vernacular 

form  of  the  Sanskrit  nrit,  "to  dance."     The  name  is 

familiar  to   English   ears  in   the   form   of    nautch,  the 

Indian  dancing  of  the  present  day.    The  latter,  indeed, 

probably  represents  the  beginnings  of  the  Indian  drama. 

It  must  at  first  have  consisted  only  of  rude  pantomime, 



in  which  the  dancing  movements  of  the  body  were 
accompanied  by  mute  mimicking  gestures  of  hand  and 
face.  Songs,  doubtless,  also  early  formed  an  ingredient 
in  such  performances.  Thus  Bharata,  the  name  of  the 
mythical  inventor  of  the  drama,  which  in  Sanskrit  also 
means  "actor,"  in  several  of  the  vernaculars  signifies 
"singer,"  as  in  the  Gujarat!  Bharot.  The  addition  of 
dialogue  was  the  last  step  in  the  development,  which 
was  thus  much  the  same  in  India  and  in  Greece.  This 
primitive  stage  is  represented  by  the  Bengal  ydtrds  and 
the  Gltagovinda.  These  form  the  transition  to  the  fully- 
developed  Sanskrit  play  in  which  lyrics  and  dialogue 
are  blended. 

The  earliest  references  to  the  acted  drama  are  to  be 
found  in  the  Mahabhdshyay  which  mentions  representa- 
tions of  the  Kamsavadhdy  the  "  Slaying  of  Kamsa,"  and  the 
Balibandhdj  or  "Binding  of  Bali,"  episodes  in  the  history 
of  Krishna.  Indian  tradition  describes  Bharata  as  having 
caused  to  be  acted  before  the  gods  a  play  representing 
the  svayamvara  of  Lakshml,  wife  of  Vishnu.  Tradition 
further  makes  Krishna  and  his  cowherdesses  the  starting- 
point  of  the  samglta,  a  representation  consisting  of  a 
mixture  of  song,  music,  and  dancing.  The  Gltagovinda 
is  concerned  with  Krishna,  and  the  modern  ydtrds  gener- 
ally represent  scenes  from  the  life  of  that  deity.  From 
all  this  it  seems  likely  that  the  Indian  drama  was  deve- 
loped in  connection  with  the  cult  of  Vishnu-Krishna,  and 
that  the  earliest  acted  representations  were  therefore, 
like  the  mysteries  of  the  Christian  Middle  Ages,  a  kind  of 
religious  plays,  in  which  scenes  from  the  legend  of  the 
god  were  enacted  mainly  with  the  aid  of  song  and 
dance,  supplemented  with  prose  dialogue  improvised  by 
the  performers. 


The  drama  has  had  a  rich  and  varied  development 
in  India,  as  is  shown  not  only  by  the  numerous  plays 
that  have  been  preserved,  but  by  the  native  treatises  on 
poetics  which  contain  elaborate  rules  for  the  construc- 
tion and  style  of  plays.  Thus  the  Sdhitya-darpaiia,  or 
"  Mirror  of  Rhetoric,"  divides  Sanskrit  dramas  into  two 
main  classes,  a  higher  (rupaka)  and  a  lower  (uparupaka), 
and  distinguishes  no  fewer  than  ten  species  of  the  former 
and  eighteen  of  the  latter. 

The  characteristic  features  of  the  Indian  drama  which 
strike  the  Western  student  are  the  entire  absence  of 
tragedy,  the  interchange  of  lyrical  stanzas  with  prose 
dialogue,  and  the  use  of  Sanskrit  for  some  characters 
and  of  Prakrit  for  others. 

The  Sanskrit  drama  is  a  mixed  composition,  in  which 
joy  is  mingled  with  sorrow,  in  which  the  jester  usually 
plays  a  prominent  part,  while  the  hero  and  heroine  are 
often  in  the  depths  of  despair.  But  it  never  has  a  sad 
ending.  The  emotions  of  terror,  grief,  or  pity,  with 
which  the  audience  are  inspired,  are  therefore  always 
tranquillised  by  the  happy  termination  of  the  story. 
Nor  may  any  deeply  tragic  incident  take  place  in  the 
course  of  the  play ;  for  death  is  never  allowed  to  be 
represented  on  the  stage.  Indeed  nothing  considered 
indecorous,  whether  of  a  serious  or  comic  character,  is 
allowed  to  be  enacted  in  the  sight  or  hearing  of  the 
spectators,  such  as  the  utterance  of  a  curse,  degradation, 
banishment,  national  calamity,  biting,  scratching,  kiss- 
ing, eating,  or  sleeping. 

Sanskrit  plays  are  full  of  lyrical  passages  describing 
scenes  or  persons  presented  to  view,  or  containing  re- 
flections suggested  by  the  incidents  that  occur.  They 
usually  consist  of  four-line  stanzas,     gakuntald  contains 


nearly  two  hundred  such,  representing  something  like 
one  half  of  the  whole  play.  These  lyrical  passages  are 
composed  in  a  great  many  different  metres.  Thus  the 
first  thirty-four  stanzas  of  ^akuntald  exhibit  no  fewer 
than  eleven  varieties  of  verse.  It  is  not  possible,  as  in 
the  case  of  the  simple  Vedic  metres,  to  imitate  in 
English  the  almost  infinite  resources  of  the  complicated 
and  entirely  quantitative  classical  Sanskrit  measures. 
The  spirit  of  the  lyrical  passages  is,  therefore,  probably 
best  reproduced  by  using  blank  verse  as  the  familiar 
metre  of  our  drama.  The  prose  of  the  dialogue  in  the 
plays  is  often  very  commonplace,  serving  only  as  an 
introduction  to  the  lofty  sentiment  of  the  poetry  that 

In  accordance  with  their  social  position,  the  various 
characters  in  a  Sanskrit  play  speak  different  .dialects. 
Sanskrit  is  employed  only  by  heroes,  kings,  Brahmans, 
and  men  of  high  rank  ;  Prakrit  by  all  women  and  by  men 
of  the  lower  orders.  Distinctions  are  further  made  in 
the  use  of  Prakrit  itself.  Thus  women  of  high  position 
employ  Maharashtrl  in  lyrical  passages,  but  otherwise 
they,  as  well  as  children  and  the  better  class  of  servants, 
speak  Caurasenl.  Magadhl  is  used,  for  instance,  by 
attendants  in  the  royal  palace,  Avanti  by  rogues  or 
gamblers,  Abhlrl  by  cowherds,  Paicachi  by  charcoal- 
burners,  and  Apabhramca  by  the  lowest  and  most  de- 
spised people  as  well  as  barbarians. 

The  Sanskrit  dramatists  show  considerable  skill  in 
weaving  the  incidents  of  the  plot  and  in  the  portrayal 
of  individual  character,  but  do  not  show  much  fertility 
of  invention,  commonly  borrowing  the  story  of  their 
plays  from  history  or  epic  legend.  Love  is  the  subject 
of    most   Indian    dramas.      The    hero,    usually   a    king, 


already  the  husband  of  one  or  more  wives,  is  smitten 
at  first  sight  with  the  charms  of  some  fair  maiden.  The 
heroine,  equally  susceptible,  at  once  reciprocates  his 
affection,  but  concealing  her  passion,  keeps  her  lover 
in  agonies  of  suspense.  Harassed  by  doubts,  obstacles, 
and  delays,  both  are  reduced  to  a  melancholy  and 
emaciated  condition.  The  somewhat  doleful  effect 
produced  by  their  plight  is  relieved  by  the  animated 
doings  of  the  heroine's  confidantes,  but  especially  by 
the  proceedings  of  the  court -jester  {vidushaka),  the 
constant  companion  of  the  hero.  He  excites  ridicule 
by  his  bodily  defects  no  less  than  his  clumsy  interfer- 
ence with  the  course  of  the  hero's  affairs.  His  attempts 
at  wit  are,  however,  not  of  a  high  order.  It  is  somewhat 
strange  that  a  character  occupying  the  position  of  a 
universal,  butt  should  always  be  a  Brahman. 

While  the  Indian  drama  shows  some  affinities  with 
Greek  comedy,  it  affords  more  striking  points  of  resem- 
blance to  the  productions  of  the  Elizabethan  playwrights, 
and  in  particular  of  Shakespeare.  The  aim  of  the  Indian 
dramatists  is  not  to  portray  types  of  character,  but 
individual  persons ;  nor  do  they  observe  the  rule  of 
unity  of  time  or  place.  They  are  given  to  introducing 
romantic  and  fabulous  elements  ;  they  mix  prose  with 
verse ;  they  blend  the  comic  with  the  serious,  and  in- 
troduce puns  and  comic  distortions  of  words.  The 
character  of  the  vidushaka,  too,  is  a  close  parallel  to 
the  fool  in  Shakespeare.  Common  to  both  are  also 
several  contrivances  intended  to  further  the  action  of 
the  drama,  such  as  the  writing  of  letters,  the  introduc- 
tion of  a  play  within  a  play,  the  restoration  of  the  dead 
to  life,  and  the  use  of  intoxication  on  the  stage  as  a 
humorous  device.     Such  a  series  of  coincidences,  in  a 



case  where  influence  or  borrowing  is  absolutely  out  of 
the  question,  is  an  instructive  instance  of  how  similar 
developments  can  arise  independently. 

Every  Sanskrit  play  begins  with  a  prologue  or  in- 
troduction, which  regularly  opens  with  a  prayer  or 
benediction  (ndndt)  invoking  the  national  deity  in  favour 
of  the  audience.  Then  generally  follows  a  dialogue 
between  the  stage-manager  and  one  or  two  actors, 
which  refers  to  the  play  and  its  author,  seeks  to  win 
public  favour  by  paying  a  complimentary  tribute  to 
the  critical  acumen  of  the  spectators,  mentions  past 
events  and  present  circumstances  elucidating  the  plot, 
and  invariably  ends  by  adroitly  introducing  one  of  the 
characters  of  the  actual  play.  A  Sanskrit  drama  is 
divided  into  scenes  and  acts.  The  former  are  marked 
by  the  entrance  of  one  character  and  the  exit  of  another. 
The  stage  is  never  left  vacant  till  the  end  of  the  act,  nor 
does  any  change  of  locality  take  place  till  then.  Before 
a  new  act  an  interlude  (called  vishkambha  or  praveqakd), 
consisting  of  a  monologue  or  dialogue,  is  often  intro- 
duced. In  this  scene  allusion  is  made  to  events  supposed 
to  have  occurred  in  the  interval,  and  the  audience  are 
prepared  for  what  is  about  to  take  place.  The  whole 
piece  closes  with  a  prayer  for  national  prosperity,  which 
is  addressed  to  the  favourite  deity  and  is  spoken  by  one 
of  the  principal  characters. 

The  number  of  acts  in  a  play  varies  from  one  to  ten  ; 
but,  while  fluctuating  somewhat,  is  determined  by  the 
character  of  the  drama.  Thus  the  species  called  ndtikd 
has  four  acts  and  the  farcical  prahasana  only  one. 

The  duration  of  the  events  is  supposed  to  be  identical 
with  the  time  occupied  in  performing  them  on  the  stage, 
or,  at  most,  a  day ;    and  a  night  is  assumed  to  elapse 


between  each  act  and  that  which  follows.  Occasionally, 
however,  the  interval  is  much  longer.  Thus  in  Kalidasa's 
gakuntald  and  Urvacl  several  years  pass  between  the  first 
and  the  last  act;  while  in  Bhavabhuti's  Uttara-rdmacharita 
no  less  than  twelve  years  elapse  between  the  first  and 
the  second  act. 

Nor  is  unity  of  place  observed  ;  for  the  scene  may 
be  transferred  from  one  part  of  the  earth  to  another,  or 
even  to  the  aerial  regions.  Change  of  locality  sometimes 
occurs  even  within  the  same  act ;  as  when  a  journey  is 
supposed  to  be  performed  through  the  air  in  a  celestial 
car.  It  is  somewhat  curious  that  while  there  are  many 
and  minute  stage  directions  about  dress  and  decorations 
no  less  than  about  the  actions  of  the  players,  nothing  is 
said  in  this  way  as  to  change  of  scene.  As  regards  the 
number  of  characters  appearing  in  a  play,  no  limit  of 
any  kind  is  imposed. 

There  were  no  special  theatres  in  the  Indian  Middle 
Ages,  and  plays  seem  to  have  been  performed  in  the 
concert-room  (samglta-gdld)  of  royal  palaces.  A  curtain 
divided  in  the  middle  was  a  necessary  part  of  the  stage 
arrangement ;  it  did  not,  however,  separate  the  audience 
from  the  stage,  as  in  the  Roman  theatre,  but  formed  the 
background  of  the  stage.  Behind  the  curtain  was  the 
tiring-room  (nepathyd),  whence  the  actors  came  on  the 
stage.  When  they  were  intended  to  enter  hurriedly, 
they  were  directed  to  do  so  "  with  a  toss  of  the  curtain." 
The  stage  scenery  and  decorations  were  of  a  very  simple 
order,  much  being  left  to  the  imagination  of  the  spectator, 
as  in  the  Shakespearian  drama.  Weapons,  seats,  thrones, 
and  chariots  appeared  on  the  stage  ;  but  it  is  highly  im- 
probable that  the  latter  were  drawn  by  the  living  animals 
supposed  to  be  attached  to  them.     Owing  to  the  very 


frequent  intercourse  between  the  inhabitants  of  heaven 
and  earth,  there  may  have  been  some  kind  of  aerial  con- 
trivance to  represent  celestial  chariots  ;  but  owing  to 
the  repeated  occurrence  of  the  stage  direction  "  gesticu- 
lating "  (ndtayitva)  in  this  connection,  it  is  to  be  supposed 
that  the  impression  of  motion  and  speed  was  produced 
on  the  audience  simply  by  the  gestures  of  the  actors. 

The  best  productions  of  the  Indian  drama  are  nearly 
a  dozen  in  number,  and  date  from  a  period  embracing 
something  like  four  hundred  years,  from  about  the 
beginning  of  the  fifth  to  the  end  of  the  eighth  century 
a.d.  These  plays  are  the  compositions  of  the  great 
dramatists  Kalidasa  and  Bhavabhuti,  or  have  come 
down  under  the  names  of  the  royal  patrons  (^udraka 
and  (Jrlharsha,  to  whom  their  real  authors  attributed 

The  greatest  of  all  is  Kalidasa,  already  known  to  us 
as  the  author  of  several  of  the  best  Kavyas.  Three  of 
his  plays  have  been  preserved,  £akuntald,  Vikramorvaqi, 
and  Mdlavikdgnimitra.  The  richness  of  creative  fancy 
which  he  displays  in  these,  and  his  skill  in  the  expression 
of  tender  feeling,  assign  him  a  high  place  among  the 
dramatists  of  the  world.  The  harmony  of  the  poetic 
sentiment  is  nowhere  disturbed  by  anything  violent  or 
terrifying.  Every  passion  is  softened  without  being 
enfeebled.  The  ardour  of  love  never  goes  beyond 
aesthetic  bounds  ;  it  never  maddens  to  wild  jealousy  or 
hate.  The  torments  of  sorrow  are  toned  down  to  a 
profound  and  touching  melancholy.  It  was  here  at 
last  that  the  Indian  genius  found  the  law  of  moderation 
in  poetry,  which  it  hardly  knew  elsewhere,  and  thus 
produced  works  of  enduring  beauty.  Hence  it  was 
that  ^akuntald  exercised  so  great  a  fascination  on  the 



calm  intellect  of  Goethe,  who  at  the  same  time  was 
so  strongly  repelled  by  the  extravagances  of  Hindu 
mythological  art. 

In  comparison  with  the  Greek  and  the  modern 
drama,  Nature  occupies  a  much  more  important  place 
in  Sanskrit  plays.  The  characters  are  surrounded  by 
Nature,  with  which  they  are  in  constant  communion. 
The  mango  and  other  trees,  creepers,  lotuses,  and  pale- 
red  trumpet-flowers,  gazelles,  flamingoes,  bright-hued 
parrots,  and  Indian  cuckoos,  in  the  midst  of  which 
they  move,  are  often  addressed  by  them  and  form  an 
essential  part  of  their  lives.  Hence  the  influence  of 
Nature  on  the  minds  of  lovers  is  much  dwelt  on.  Pro- 
minent everywhere  in  classical  Sanskrit  poetry,  these 
elements  of  Nature  luxuriate  most  of  all  in  the  drama. 

The  finest  of  Kalidasa's  works  are,  it  cannot  be 
denied,  defective  as  stage-plays.  The  very  delicacy  of 
the  sentiment,  combined  with  a  certain  want  of  action, 
renders  them  incapable  of  producing  a  powerful  effect 
on  an  audience.  The  best  representatives  of  the 
romantic  drama  of  India  are  Qakuntald  and  Vikramor- 
vaql.  Dealing  with  the  love  adventures  of  two  famous 
kings  of  ancient  epic  legend,  they  represent  scenes  far 
removed  from  reality,  in  which  heaven  and  earth  are  not 
separated,  and  men,  demigods,  nymphs,  and  saints  are 
intermingled.  Mdlavikdgnimitra,  on  the  other  hand, 
not  concerned  with  the  heroic  or  divine,  is  a  palace-and- 
harem  drama,  a  story  of  contemporary  love  and  intrigue. 

The  plot  of  ^akuntald  is  derived  from  the  first  book 
of  the  Mahdbhdrata.  The  hero  is  Dushyanta,  a  celebrated 
king  of  ancient  days,  the  heroine,  ^akuntala,  the  daughter 
of  a  celestial  nymph,  Menaka,  and  of  the  sage  Vicvamitra  ; 
while  their  son,  Bharata,  became  the  founder  of  a  famous 


race.  The  piece  consists  of  seven  acts,  and  belongs  to  the 
class  of  drama  by  native  writers  on  poetics  styled  ndtaka, 
or  "  the  play."  In  this  the  plot  must  be  taken  from  my- 
thology or  history,  the  characters  must  be  heroic  or 
divine  ;  it  should  be  written  in  elaborate  style,  and  full 
of  noble  sentiments,  with  five  acts  at  least,  and  not  more 
than  ten. 

After  the  prelude,  in  which  an  actress  sings  a  charm- 
ing lyric  on  the  beauties  of  summer-time,  King  Dushyanta 
appears  pursuing  a  gazelle  in  the  sacred  grove  of  the  sage 
Kanva.  Here  he  catches  sight  of  (Jakuntala,  who,  accom- 
panied by  her  two  maiden  friends,  is  engaged  in  watering 
her  favourite  trees.     Struck  by  her  beauty,  he  exclaims — 

Her  lip  is  ruddy  as  an  opening  1 

Her  graceful  arms  resemble  te7tder  shoots  : 

Attractive  as  the  bloom  upon  the  tree, 

The  glow  of  youth  is  spread  on  all  her  limbs. 

Seizing  an  opportunity  of  addressing  her,  he  soon  feels 
that  it  is  impossible  for  him  to  return  to  his  capital — 

My  limbs  move  forward,  while  my  heart  flies  back, 
Like  silken  standard  borne  against  the  breeze. 

In  the  second  act  the  comic  element  is  introduced  with 
the  jester  Mathavya,  who  is  as  much  disgusted  with. his 
master's  love-lorn  condition  as  with  his  fondness  for  the 
chase.  In  the  third  act,  the  love-sick  (Jakuntala  is  dis- 
covered lying  on  a  bed  of  flowers  in  an  arbour.  The 
king  overhears  her  conversation  with  her  two  friends, 
shows  himself,  and  offers  to  wed  the  heroine.  An  inter- 
lude explains  how  a  choleric  ascetic,  named  Durvasa, 
enraged  at  not  being  greeted  by  (Jakuntala  with  due 
courtesy,  owing  to   her   pre-occupied   state,   had   pro- 


nounced  a  curse  which  should  cause  her  to  be  entirely 
forgotten  by  her  lover,  who  could  recognise  her  only  by 
means  of  a  ring. 

The  king  having  meanwhile  married  (Jakuntala  and 
returned  home,  the  sage  Kanva  has  resolved  to  send  her 
to  her  husband.  The  way  in  which  (^akuntala  takes 
leave  of  the  sacred  grove  in  which  she  has  been  brought 
up,  of  her  flowers,  her  gazelles,  and  her  friends,  is  charm- 
ingly described  in  the  fourth  act.  This  is  the  act  which 
contains  the  most  obvious  beauties  ;  for  here  the  poet 
displays  to  the  full  the  richness  of  his  fancy,  his  abundant 
sympathy  with  Nature,  and  a  profound  knowledge  of  the 
human  heart. 

A  young  Brahman  pupil  thus  describes  the  dawning 
of  the  day  on  which  (^akuntala  is  to  leave  the  forest 
hermitage — 

On  yonder  side  the  moon,  the  Lord  of  Plants, 
Sinks  down  behind  the  western  mountain's  crest  ; 
On  this,  the  sun  preceded  by  the  dawn 
Appears  :  the  setting  and  the  rise  at  once 
Of  these  two  orbs  the  symbols  are  of  man's 
Own  fluctuating  fortunes  in  the  world. 

Then  he  continues — 

The  moon  has  gone;  the  lilies  on  the  lake, 
t  Whose  beauty  lingers  in  the  memory, 

No  more  delight  my  gaze  :  they  droop  and  fade; 
Deep  is  their  sorrow  for  their  absent  lord. 

The  aged  hermit  of  the  grove  thus  expresses  his 
feelings  at  the  approaching  loss  of  Cakuntala — 

My  heart  is  touched  with  sadness  at  the  thought     ■ 
"  (^akuntala  must  go  to-day" ;  my  throat 
Is  choked  with  flow  of  tears  repressed;  my  si<rht 
Is  dimmed  with  pensiveness ;  but  if  the  grief 


Of  an  old  forest  hermit  is  so  great, 
How  keen  must  be  the  pang  a  father  feels 
When  freshly  parted  from  a  cherished  child / 

Then  calling  on  the  trees  to  give  her  a  kindly  fare- 
well, he  exclaims — 

The  trees,  the  kins?nen  of  her  forest  home, 
Now  to  Cakuntala  give  leave  to  go  : 
They  with  the  Kokilds  melodious  cry 
Their  answer  make. 

Thereupon  the  following  good  wishes  are  uttered  by 
voices  in  the  air — 

Thy  journey  be  auspicious ;  may  the  breeze, 
Gentle  a?id  soothing,  fan  thy  cheek;  may  lakes 
A II  bright  with  lily  cups  delight  thine  eye; 
The  sunbeams'  heat  be  cooled  by  shady  trees; 
The  dust  beneath  thy  feet  the  pollen  be 
Of  lotuses. 

The  fifth  act,  in  which  (Jakuntala  appears  before  her 
husband,  is  deeply  moving.  The  king  fails  to  recognise 
her,  and,  though  treating  her  not  unkindly,  refuses  to 
acknowledge  her  as  his  wife.  As  a  last  resource,  Cakun- 
tala bethinks  herself  of  the  ring  given  her  by  her  husband, 
but  on  discovering  that  it  is  lost,  abandons  hope.  She  is 
then  borne  off  to  heaven  by  celestial  agency. 

In  the  following  interlude  we  see  a  fisherman  dragged 
along  by  constables  for  having  in  his  possession  the  royal 
signet-ring,  which  he  professes  to  have  found  inside  a  fish. 
The  king,  however,  causes  him  to  be  set  free,  rewarding 
him  handsomely  for  his  find.  Recollection  of  his  former 
love  now  returns  to  Dushyanta.  While  he  is  indulging 
in  sorrow  at  his  repudiation  of  Cakuntala,  Matali,  India's 
charioteer,  appears  on  the  scene  to  ask  the  king's  aid  in 
vanquishing  the  demons. 


In  the  last  act  Dushyanta  is  seen  driving  in  Indra's 
car  to  Hemakuta,  the  mountain  of  the  Gandharvas. 
Here  he  sees  a  young  boy  playing  with  a  lion  cub. 
Taking  his  hand,  without  knowing  him  to  be  his  own 
son,  he  exclaims — 

If  ?iow  the  touch  of  but  a  stranger's  child 
Thus  sends  a  thrill  of  joy  through  all  my  limbs, 
What  tra?isports  must  he  waken  in  the  soul 
Of  that  blest  father  from  whose  loins  he  sprang! 

Soon  after  he  finds  and  recognises  (Jakuntala,  with 
whom  he  is  at  length  happily  reunited. 

Kalidasa's  play  has  come  down  to  us  in  two  main 
recensions.  The  so-called  Devanagarl  one,  shorter  and 
more  concise,  is  probably  the  older  and  better.  The 
more  diffuse  Bengal  recension  became  known  first 
through  the  translation  of  Sir  William  Jones. 

Vikramorvaci,  or  "  UrvacI  won  by  Valour,"  is  a  play 
in  five  acts,  belonging  to  the  class  called  Trotaka,  which 
is  described  as  representing  events  partly  terrestrial  and 
partly  celestial,  and  as  consisting  of  five,  seven,  eight,  or 
nine  acts.  Its  plot  is  briefly  as  follows.  King  Purura- 
vas,  hearing  from  nymphs  that  their  companion,  UrvacI, 
has  been  carried  off  by  demons,  goes  to  the  rescue  and 
brings  her  back  on  his  car.  He  is  enraptured  by  the 
beauty  of  the  nymph,  no  less  than  she  is  captivated  by 
her  deliverer.  UrvacI  being  summoned  before  the 
throne  of  Indra,  the  lovers  are  soon  obliged  to  part. 

In  the  second  act  UrvacI  appears  for  a  short  time  to 
the  king  as  he  disconsolately  wanders  in  the  garden.  A 
letter,  in  which  she  had  written  a  confession  of  her  love, 
is  discovered  by  the  queen,  who  refuses  to  be  pacified. 

In  the  third  act  we  learn  that  UrvacI  had  been 
acting  before  Indra  in  a  play  representing  the  betrothal 


of  Lakshml,  and  had,  when  asked  on  whom  her  heart 
was  set,  named  Pururavas  instead  of  Purushottama  (i.e. 
Vishnu).  She  is  consequently  cursed  by  her  teacher, 
Bharata,  but  is  forgiven  by  Indra,  who  allows  her  to 
be  united  with  Pururavas  till  the  latter  sees  his  offspring. 
The  fourth  act  is  peculiar  in  being  almost  entirely 
lyrical.  The  lovers  are  wandering  near  Kailasa,  the 
divine  mountain,  when  UrvacI,  in  a  fit  of  jealousy,  enters 
the  grove  of  Kumara,  god  of  war,  which  is  forbidden  to  all 
females.  In  consequence  of  Bharata's  curse,  she  is  in- 
stantly transformed  into  a  creeper.  The  king,  beside 
himself  with  grief  at  her  loss,  seeks  her  everywhere. 
He  apostrophises  various  insects,  birds,  beasts,  and  even 
a  mountain  peak,  to  tell  him  where  she  is.  At  last  he 
thinks  he  sees  her  in  the  mountain  stream  : — 

The  rippling  wave  is  like  her  frown;  the  row 
Of  tossing  birds  her  girdle  ;  streaks  of  foam 
,       Her  fluttering  garment  as  she  speeds  along  j 

The  current,  her  devious  and  stumbliiig  gait :         * 
'  Tis  she  turned  in  her  wrath  into  a  stream. 

Finally,  under  the  influence  of  a  magic  stone,  which  has 
come  into  his  possession,  he  clasps  a  creeper,  which  is 
transformed  into  UrvacI  in  his  arms. 

Between  the  fourth  and  fifth  acts  several  years  elapse. 
Then  Pururavas,  by  accident,  discovers  his  son  Ayus, 
whom  UrvacI  had  secretly  borne,  and  had  caused  to  be 
brought  up  in  a  hermitage.  UrvacI  must  therefore  return 
to  heaven.  Indra,  however,  in  return  for  Pururavas' 
services  against  the  demons,  makes  a  new  concession, 
and  allows  the  nymph  to  remain  with  the  king  for  good. 

There  are  two  recensions  of  this  play  also,  one  of 
them  belonging  to  Southern  India. 

The  doubts  long  entertained,  on  the  ground  of  its 


inferiority  and  different  character,  astowhether  Malavik- 
dgnimitray  or  "  Malavika  and  Agnimitra,"  is  really  the 
work  of  Kalidasa,  who  is  mentioned  in  the  prologue  as 
the  author,  are  hardly  justified.  The  piece  has  been 
shown  by  Weber  to  agree  pretty  closely  in  thought  and 
diction  with  the  two  other  plays  of  the  poet ;  and  though 
certainly  not  equal  to' the  latter  in  poetic  merit,  it  pos- 
sesses many  beauties.  The  subject  is  not  heroic  or 
divine,  the  plot  being  derived  from  the  ordinary  palace 
life  of  Indian  princes,  and  thus  supplying  a  peculiarly 
good  picture  of  the  social  conditions  of  the  times.  The 
hero  is  a  historical  king  of  the  dynasty  of  the  (Jungas, 
who  reigned  at  Vidica  (Bhilsa)  in  the  second  century  B.C. 
The  play  describes  the  loves  of  this  king  Agnimitra  and 
of  Malavika,  one  of  the  attendants  of  the  queen,  who 
jealously  keeps  her  out  of  the  king's  sight  on  account  of 
her  great  beauty.  The  various  endeavours  of  the  king 
to  see  and  converse  with  Malavika  give  rise  to  numerous 
little  intrigues.  In  the  course  of  these  Agnimitra  nowhere 
appears  as  a  despot,  but  acts  with  much  delicate  consider- 
ation for  the  feelings  of  his  spouses.  It  finally  turns  out 
that  Malavika  is  by  birth  a  princess,  who  had  only  come 
to  be  an  attendant  at  Agnimitra's  court  through  having 
fallen  into  the  hands  of  robbers.  There  being  now  no 
objection  to  her  union  with  the  king,  all  ends  happily. 

While  Kalidasa  stands  highest  in  poetical  refinement, 
in  tenderness,  and  depth  of  feeling,  the  author  of  the 
Mricchakatikd,  or  "Clay  Cart,"  is  pre-eminent  among 
Indian  playwrights  for  the  distinctively  dramatic  quali- 
ties of  vigour,  life,  and  action,  no  less  than  sharpness  of 
characterisation,  being  thus  allied  in  genius  to  Shake- 
speare. This  play  is  also  marked  by  originality  and  good 
sense.    Attributed   to   a   king  named   (Judraka,   who   is 


panegyrised  in  the  prologue,  it  is  probably  the  work 
of  a  poet  patronised  by  him,  perhaps  Dandin,  as  Pro- 
fessor Pischel  thinks.  In  any  case,  it  not  improbably 
belongs  to  the  sixth  century.  It  is  divided  into  ten  acts, 
and  belongs  to  the  dramatic  class  called  prakarana.  The 
name  has  little  to  do  with  the  play,  being  derived  from 
an  unimportant  episode  of  the  sixth  act.  The  scene  is 
laid  in  UjjayinI  and  its  neighbourhood.  The  number  of 
characters  appearing  on  the  stage  is  very  considerable. 
The  chief  among  them  are  Charudatta,  a  Brahman 
merchant  who  has  lost  all  his  property  by  excessive 
liberality,  and  Vasantasena,  a  rich  courtesan  who  loves 
the  poor  but  noble  Charudatta,  and  ultimately  becomes 
his  wife.  The  third  act  contains  a  humorous  account  of 
a  burglary,  in  which  stealing  is  treated  as  a  fine  art.  In 
the  fourth  act  there  is  a  detailed  description  of  the 
splendours  of  Vasantasena's  palace.  Though  containing 
much  exaggeration,  it  furnishes  an  interesting  picture  of 
the  kind  of  luxury  that  prevailed  in  those  days.  Alto- 
gether this  play  abounds  in  comic  situations,  besides 
containing  many  serious  scenes,  some  of  which  even 
border  on  the  tragic. 

To  the  first  half  of  the  seventh  century  belong  the  two 
dramas  attributed  to  the  famous  King  (Jrlharsha  or  Har- 
shadeva,  a  patron  of  poets,  whom  we  already  know  as 
Harshavardhana  of  Thanecar  and  Kanauj.  Ratnavaliy  or 
H  The  Pearl  Necklace,"  reflecting  the  court  and  harem  life 
of  the  age,  has  many  points  of  similarity  with  Kalidasa's 
Mdiavikdgnimitra,  by  which,  indeed,  its  plot  was  probably 
suggested.  It  is  the  story  of  the  loves  of  Udayana,  king 
of  Vatsa,  and  of  Sagarika,  an  attendant  of  his  queen 
Vasavadatta.  The  heroine  ultimately  turns  out  to  be 
Ratnavall,  princess  of  Ceylon,  who  had  found  her  way  to 


Udayana's  court  after  suffering  shipwreck.  The  plot  is 
unconnected  with  mythology,  but  is  based  on  an  historical 
or  epic  tradition,  which  recurs  in  a  somewhat  different 
form  in  Somadeva's  Kathdsaritsdgara.  As  concerned 
with  the  second  marriage  of  the  king,  it  forms  a  sequel  to 
the  popular  love-story  of  Vasavadatta.  It  is  impossible 
to  say  whether  the  poet  modified  the  main  outlines  of  the 
traditional  story,  but  the  character  of  the  magician  who 
conjures  up  a  vision  of  the  gods  and  a  conflagration,  is 
his  invention,  as  well  as  the  incidents,  which  are  of  an 
entirely  domestic  nature.  The  real  author  was  doubtless 
some  poet  resident  at  (Jrlharsha's  court,  possibly  Bana, 
who  also  wrote  a  play  entitled  Pdrvatipaririaya. 

Altogether,  Ratndvall  is  an  agreeable  play,  with  well- 
drawn  characters  and  many  poetical  beauties.  Of  the 
latter  the  following  lines,  in  which  the  king  describes  the 
pale  light  in  the  east  heralding  the  rise  of  the  moon,  may 
serve  as  a  specimen  : — 

Our  minds  intent  upon  the  festival, 
We  saw  not  that  the  twilight  passed  away  : 
Behold,  the  east  proclaims  the  lord  of  night 
Still  hidden  by  the  mountain  where  he  rises, 
Even  as  a  maiden  by  her  pale  face  shows 
That  in  her  inmost  heart  a  lover  dwells. 

Another  play  of  considerable  merit  attributed  to 
(Jnharsha  is  Ndgdnanda.  It  is  a  sensational  piece  with 
a  Buddhistic  colouring,  the  hero  being  a  Buddhist  and 
Buddha  being  praised  in  the  introductory  benediction. 
For  this  reason  its  author  was  probably  different  from 
that  of  Ratndvaliy  and  may  have  been  Dhavaka,who,  like 
Bana,  is  known  to  have  lived  at  the  court  of  Crlharsha. 

The   dramatist    Bhavabhuti  was  a   Brahman  of  the 
Taittirlya  school  of  the    Yajurveda  and  belonged,  as  we 



learn  from  his  prologues,  to  Vidarbha  (now  Berar)  in 
Southern  India.  He  knew  the  city  of  UjjayinI  well,  and 
probably  spent  at  least  a  part  of  his  life  there.  His  patron 
was  King  Yacovarman  of  Kanyakijbja  (Kanauj),  who 
ruled  during  the  first  half  of  the  eighth  century. 

Three  plays  by  this  poet,  all  abounding  in  poetic 
beauties,  have  come  down  to  us.  They  contrast  in  two 
or  three  respects  with  the  works  of  the  earlier  dramatists. 
The  absence  of  the  character  of  the  jester  is  characteristic 
of  them,  the  comic  and  witty  element  entering  into  them 
only  to  a  slight  extent.  While  other  Indian  poets  dwell 
on  the  delicate  and  mild  beauties  of  Nature,  Bhavabhuti 
loves  to  depict  her  grand  and  sublime  aspects,  doubtless 
owing  to  the  influence  on  his  mind  of  the  southern 
mountains  of  his  native  land.  He  is,  moreover,  skilful 
not  only  in  drawing  characters  inspired  by  tender  and 
noble  sentiment,  but  in  giving  effective  expression  to 
depth  and  force  of  passion. 

The  best  known  and  most  popular  of  Bhavabhuti's 
plays  is  Mdlati-mddhava,  a  prakarana  in  ten  acts.  The 
scene  is  laid  in  UjjayinI,  and  the  subject  is  the  love-story 
of  MalatI,  daughter  of  a  minister  of  the  country,  and 
Madhava,  a  young  scholar  studying  in  the  city,  and  son 
of  the  minister  of  another  state.  Skilfully  interwoven 
with  this  main  story  are  the  fortunes  of  Makaranda,  a 
friend  of  Madhava,  and  Madayantika,  a  sister  of  the 
king's  favourite.  MalatI  and  Madhava  meet  and  fall  in 
love  ;  but  the  king  has  determined  that  the  heroine  shall 
marry  his  favourite,  whom  she  detests.  This  plan  is 
frustrated  by  Makaranda,  who,  personating  MalatI,  goes 
through  the  wedding  ceremony  with  the  bridegroom. 
The  lovers,  aided  in  their  projects  by  two  amiable 
Buddhist  nuns,  are  finally  united.     The  piece  is  a  sort  of 


Indian  Romeo  and  Juliet  with  a  happy  ending,  the  part 
played  by  the  nun  Kamandakl  being  analogous  to  that 
of  Friar  Laurence  in  Shakespeare's  drama.  The  con- 
trast produced  by  scenes  of  tender  love,  and  the  horrible 
doings  of  the  priestess  of  the  dread  goddess  Durga,  is 
certainly  effective,  but  perhaps  too  violent.  The  use 
made  of  swoons,  from  which  the  recovery  is,  however, 
very  rapid,  is  rather  too  common  in  this  play. 

The  ninth  act  contains  several  fine  passages  describing 
the  scenery  of  the  Vindhya  range.  The  following  is  a 
translation  of  one  of  them  : — 

This  mountain  with  its  towering  rocks  delights 

The  eye  :  its  peaks  grow  dark  with  gatheritig  clouds  ; 

Its  groves  are  thronged  with  peacocks  eloquent 

In  joy  j  the  trees  upon  its  slopes  are  bright 

With  birds  that  flit  about  their  nests ;  the  caves 

Reverberate  the  growl  of  bears  j  the  scent 

Of  incense-trees  is  wafted,  sharp  and  cool, 

From  branches  broken  off  by  elephants. 

The  other  two  dramas  of  Bhavabhuti  represent  the 
fortunes  of  the  same  national  hero,  Rama.  The  plot  of 
the  Mahdvira-charitay  or  "The  Fortunes  of  the  Great 
Hero,"  varies  but  slightly  from  the  story  told  in  the 
Rdmdyana.  The  play,  which  is  divided  into  seven  acts 
and  is  crowded  with  characters,  concludes  with  the  coro- 
nation of  Rama.  The  last  act  illustrates  well  how  much 
is  left  to  the  imagination  of  the  spectator.  It  represents 
the  journey  of  Rama  in  an  aerial  car  from  Ceylon  all  the 
way  to  Ayodhya  (Oudh)  in  Northern  India,  the  scenes 
traversed  being  described  by  one  of  the  company. 

The  Uttara-rdma-charitay  or  "The  Later  Fortunes  of 
Rama/'  is  a  romantic  piece  containing  many  fine  pas- 
sages.    Owing  to  lack  of  action,  however,  it  is  rather  a 


dramatic  poem  than  a  play.  The  description  of  the 
tender  love  of  Rama  and  Slta,  purified  by  sorrow, 
exhibits  more  genuine  pathos  than  appears  perhaps 
in  any  other  Indian  drama.  The  play  begins  with 
the  banishment  of  Slta  and  ends  with  her  restoration, 
after  twelve  years  of  grievous  solitude,  to  the  throne 
of  Ayodhya  amid  popular  acclamations>  Her  two  sons, 
born  after  her  banishment  and  reared  in  the  wilderness 
by  the  sage  Valmlki,  without  any  knowledge  of  their 
royal  descent,  furnish  a  striking  parallel  to  the  two 
princes  Guiderius  and  Arviragus  who  are  brought  up  by 
the  hermit  Belarius  in  Shakespeare's  Cymbeline.  The 
scene  in  which  their  meeting  with  their  father  Rama  is 
described  reaches  a  high  degree  of  poetic  merit. 

Among  the  works  of  other  dramatists,  VigAKHADATTA's 
Mudrd-rdkshasay  or  "  Rakshasa  and.  the  Seal,"  deserves 
special  mention  because  of  its  unique  character.  For, 
unlike  all  the  other  dramas  hitherto  described,  it-is  a  play 
of  political  intrigue,  composed,  moreover,  with  much 
dramatic  talent,  being  full  of  life,  action,  and  sustained 
interest.  Nothing  more  definite  can  be  said  as  to  its 
date  than  that  it  was  probably  written  not  later  than 
about  800  a.d.  The  action  of  the  piece  takes  place 
in  the  time  of  Chandragupta,  who,  soon  after  Alex- 
ander's invasion  of  India,  founded  a  new  dynasty  at 
Pataliputra  by  deposing  the  last  king  of  the  Nanda  line. 
Rakshasa,  the  minister  of  the  latter,  refusing  to  recog- 
nise the  usurper,  endeavours  to  be  avenged  on  him  for 
the  ruin  of  his  late  master.  The  plot  turns  on  the  efforts 
of  the  Brahman  Chanakya,  the  minister  of  Chandra- 
gupta, to  win  over  the  noble  Rakshasa  to  his  master's 
cause.     In  this  he  is  ultimately  successful. 

Bhatta  Naray ANA'S  Venlsamhdra,  or  "Binding  of  the 


braid  of  hair/'  is  a  play  in  six  acts,  deriving  its  plot  from 
the  Mahdbhdrata.  Its  action  turns  on  the  incident  of 
Draupadl  being  dragge4  by  the  hair  of  her  head  into  the 
assembly  by  one  of  the  brothers  of  Duryodhana.  Its  age 
is  known  from  its  author  having  been  the  grantee  of  a 
copperplate  dated  840  A.D.  Though  not  conspicuous  for 
poetic  merit,  it  has  long  been  a  great  favourite  in  India 
owing  to  its  express  partiality  for  the  cult  of  Krishna. 

To  about  900  A.D.  belongs  the  poet  Raja^ekhara,  the 
distinguishing  feature  of  whose  dramas  are  lightness 
and  grace  of  diction.  Four  of  his  plays  have  survived, 
and  are  entitled  Viddha-qdlabhanjikd,  Karpura-manjari, 
Bdla-rdmdyanay  and  Prachanda-pdndava  or  Bdla-bhdrata. 

The  poet  Kshemicvara,  who  probably  lived  in  the 
tenth  century  A.D.  at  Kanyakubja  under  King  Mahlpala, 
is  the  author  of  a  play  named  Chandakauqika,  or  "The 
Angry  Kaucika." 

In  the  eleventh  century  Damodara  Mi^ra  composed 
the  Hanuman-ndtaka,  "The  Play  of  Hanumat,"  also 
called  Mahd-ndtakay  or  "The  Great  Play."  According 
to  tradition,  he  lived  at  the  court  of  Bhoja,  king  of 
Malava,  who  resided  at  Dhara  (now  Dhar)  and  UjjayinI 
(Ujjain)  in  the  early  part  of  the  eleventh  century.  It  is  a 
piece  of  little  merit,  dealing  with  the  story  of  Rama  in 
connection  with  his  ally  Hanumat,  the  monkey  chief. 
It  consists  of  fourteen  acts,  lacking  coherence,  and  pro- 
ducing the  impression  of  fragments  patched  together. 

KRISHNA  Mi^RA's  Prabodha-chandrodaya,  or  "  Rise  of 
the  Moon  of  Knowledge,"  a  play  in  six  acts,  dating  from 
about  the  end  of  the  eleventh  century,  deserves  special 
attention  as  one  of  the  most  remarkable  products  of 
Indian  literature.  Though  an  allegorical  piece  of  theo- 
logico-philosophical  purport,  in  which   practically  only 


abstract  notions  and  symbolical  figures  act  as  persons, 
it  is  remarkable  for  dramatic  life  and  vigour.  It  aims  at 
glorifying  orthodox  Brahmanism  in  the  Vishnuite  sense, 
just  as  the  allegorical  plays  of  the  Spanish  poet  Calderon 
were  intended  to  exalt  the  Catholic  faith.  The  Indian 
poet  has  succeeded  in  the  difficult  task  of  creating  an 
attractive  play  with  abstractions  like  Revelation,  Will, 
Reason,  Religion,  by  transforming  them  into  living 
beings  of  flesh  and  blood.  The  evil  King  Error  appears 
on  the  scene  as  ruler  of  Benares,  surrounded  by  his 
faithful  adherents,  the  Follies  and  Vices,  while  Religion 
and  the  noble  King  Reason,  accompanied  by  all  the 
Virtues,  have  been  banished.  There  is,  however,  a 
prophecy  that  Reason  will  some  day  be  re-united  with 
Revelation  ;  the  fruit  of  the  union  will  be  True  Know- 
ledge, which  will  destroy  the  reign  of  Error.  The 
struggle  for  this  union  and  its  consummation,  followed 
by  the  final  triumph  of  the  good  party,  forms  the  plot  of 
the  piece. 

A  large  number  of  Sanskrit  plays  have  been  written 
since  the  twelfth  century x  down  to  modern  times,  their 
plots  being  generally  derived  from  the  Mahabhdrata  and 
the  Rdmdyana.  Besides  these,  there  are  farces  in  one  or 
more  acts,  mostly  of  a  coarse  type,  in  which  various 
vices,  such  as  hypocrisy,  are  satirised.  These  later  pro- 
ductions reach  a  much  lower  level  of  art  than  the  works 
of  the  early  Indian  dramatists, 

1  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  two  Sanskrit  plays,  composed  in  the  twelfth 
century,  and  not  as  yet  known  in  manuscript  form,  have  been  partially  pre- 
served in  inscriptions  found  at  Ajmere  (see  Kielhorn,  in  Appendix  to  Epi- 
graphia  Indica,  vol.  v.  p.  20,  No.  134.     Calcutta,  1899). 



{Circa  400-1100  A.D.) 

The  didactic  and  sententious  note  which  prevails  in 
classical  Sanskrit  literature  cannot  fail  to  strike  the 
student.  It  is,  however,  specially  pronounced  in  the 
fairy  tales  and  fables,  where  the  abundant  introduction 
of  ethical  reflections  and  proverbial  philosophy  is  char- 
acteristic. The  apologue  with  its  moral  is  peculiarly 
subject  to  this  method  of  treatment. 

A  distinguishing  feature  of  the  Sanskrit  collections 
of  fairy  tales  and  fables,  which  are  to  a  considerable 
extent  found  mixed  together/js  the  insertion  of  a  num- 
ber of  different  stories  within  the  framework  of  a  single 
narrative.)  The  characters  of  the  main  story  in  turn 
relate  various  tales  to  edify  one  another  or  to  prove 
the  correctness  of  their  own  special  views.  As  within 
the  limits  of  a  minor  story  a  second  one  can  be  simi- 
larly introduced  and  the  process  further  repeated,  the 
construction  of  the  whole  work  comes  to  resemble  that 
of  a  set  of  Chinese  boxes.  This  style  of  narration  was 
borrowed  from  India  by  the  neighbouring  Oriental 
peoples  of  Persia  and  Arabia,  who  employed  it  in  com- 
posing independent  works.  The  most  notable  instance 
is,  of  course,  the  Arabian  Nights. 

The   Panchatantra,   so   called   because   it   is  divided 



into  five  books,  is,  from  the  literary  point  of  view,  the 
most  important  and  interesting  work  in  this  branch  of 
Indian  literature.  It  consists  for  the  most  part  of 
fables,  which  are  written  in  prose  with  an  admixture 
of  illustrative  aphoristic  verse.  At  what  time  this  col- 
lection first  assumed  definite  shape,  it  is  impossible  to 
say.  We  know,  however,  that  it  existed  in  the  first 
half  of  the  sixth  century  A.D.,  since  it  was  translated  by 
order  of  King  Khosru  Anushlrvan  (531-79)  into  Pehlevi, 
the  literary  language  of  Persia  at  that  time.  We  may, 
indeed,  assume  that  it  was  known  in  the  fifth  century ; 
for  a  considerable  time  must  have  elapsed  before  it  be- 
came so  famous  that  a  foreign  king  desired  its  translation. 
If  not  actually  a  Buddhistic  work,  the  Panchatantra 
must  be  derived  from  Buddhistic  sources.  This  follows 
from  the  fact  that  a  number  of  its  fables  can  be  traced 
to  Buddhistic  writings,  and  from  the  internal  evidence 
of  the  book  itself.  Apologues  and  fables  were  current 
among  the  Buddhists  from  the  earliest  times.  They 
were  ascribed  to  Buddha,  and  their  sanctity  increased 
by  identifying  the  best  character  in  any  story  with 
Buddha  himself  in  a  previous  birth.  Hence  such  tales 
were  called  Jatakas,  or  M  Birth  Stories."  There  is  evi- 
dence that  a  collection  of  stories  under  that  name  existed 
as  early  as  the  Council  of  Vesall,  about  380  B.C. ;  and 
in  the  fifth  century  A.D.  they  assumed  the  shape  they 
now  have  in  the  Pali  Sutta-pitaka.  Moreover,  two 
Chinese  encylopasdias,  the  older  of  which  was  com- 
pleted in  668  A.D.,  contain  a  large  number  of  Indian 
fables  translated  into  Chinese,  and  cite  no  fewer  than 
202  Buddhist  works  as  their  sources.  In  its  present 
form,  however,  the  Panchatantra  is  the  production  of 
Brahmans,  who,  though  they  transformed   or   omitted 


such  parts  as  betrayed  animus  against  Brahmanism, 
have  nevertheless  left  uneffaced  many  traces  of  the  Bud- 
dhistic origin  of  the  collection.  Though  now  divided 
into  only  five  books,  it  is  shown  by  the  evidence  of 
the  oldest  translation  to  have  at  one  time  embraced 
twelve.  What  its  original  name  was  we  cannot  say, 
but  it  may  not  improbably  have  been  called  after  the 
two  jackals,  Karataka  and  Damanaka,  who  play  a  pro- 
minent part  in  the  first  book  ;  for  the  title  of  the  old 
Syriac  version  is  Kalilag  and  Damnag,  and  that  of  the 
Arabic  translation  Kalllah  and  Dimnah, 

^Originally  the  Panchatantra  was  probably  intended 
to  be  a  manual  for  the  instruction  of  the  sons  of  kings 
in  the  principles  of  conduct  {nzti),  a  kind  of  "  Mirror 
of  Princes."  For  it  is  introduced  with  the  story  of 
King  AmaraCakti  of  Mahilaropya,  a  city  of  the  south, 
who  wishes  to  discover  a  scholar  capable  of  training 
his  three  stupid  and  idle  sons.  He  at  last  finds  a 
Brahman  who  undertakes  to  teach  the  princes  in  six 
months  enough  to  make  them  surpass  all  others  in 
knowledge  of  moral  science.  This  object  he  duly  ac- 
complishes by  composing  the  Panchatanfra  and  reciting 
\  it  to  the  young  princes. 

The  framework  of  the  first  book,  entitled  u  Separa- 

\  tion  of  Friends,"  is  the  story  of  a  bull  and  a  lion,  who 
are  introduced  to  one  another  in  the  forest  by  two 
jackals  and  become  fast  friends.  One  of  the  jackals, 
feeling  himsetf  neglected,  starts  an  intrigue  by  telling 
both  the  lion  and  the  bull  that  each  is  plotting  against 
the  other.  As  a  result  the  bull  is  killed  in  battle  with 
the  lion,  and  the  jackal,  as  prime  minister  of  the  latter, 
enjoys  the  fruits  of  his  machinations.    The  main  story 

*)    of    the    second    book,    which    is    called    "Acquisition 



of  Friends,"  deals  with  the  adventures  of  a  tortoise,  a 
deer,  a  cfOW,  and  a  mouse.  It  is  meant  to  illustrate  the 
advantages  of  judicious  friendships.  The  third  book,  or 
"  The  War  of  the  Crows  and  the  Owls,"  points  out  the 
danger  of  friendship  concluded  between  those  who  are 
old  enemies.  The  fourth  book,  entitled  "  Loss  of  what 
has  been  Acquired,"  illustrates,  by  the  main  story  of  the 
monkey  and  the  crocodile,  how  fools  can  be  made  by 
flattery  to  part  with  their  possessions.  The  fifth  book, 
entitled  "  Inconsiderate  Action,"  contains  a  number  of 
stories  connected  with  the  experiences  of  a  barber,  who 
came  to  grief  through  failing  to  take  all  the  circumstances 
of  the  case  into  consideration. 

The  book  is  pervaded  by  a  quaint  humour  which 
transfers,  to  the  animal  kingdom  all  sorts  of  human 
action.  (Thus  animals  devote  themselves  to  the  study 
of  the  Vedas  and  to  the  practice  of  religious  rites ;  they 
engage  in  disquisitions  about  gods,  saints,  and  heroes ; 
or  exchange  views  regarding  subtle  rules  of  ethics ;  but 
suddenly  their  fierce  animal  nature  breaks  outN  A  pious  |l  * 
cat,  for  instance,  called  upon  to  act  as  umpire  in  a 
dispute  between  a  sparrow  and  a  monkey,  inspires  such 
confidence  in  the  litigants,  by  a  long  discourse  on  the 
vanity  of  life  and  the  supreme  importance  of  virtue, 
that  they  come  close  up  in  order  to  hear  better  the 
words  of  wisdom.  In  an  instant  he  seizes  one  of  the 
disputants  with  his  claws,  the  other  with  his  teeth,  and 
devours  them  both.  Very  humorous  is  the  story  of 
the  conceited  musical  donkey.  Trespassing  one  moon- 
light night  in  a  cucumber  field,  he  feels  impelled  to  sing, 
and  answers  the  objections  of  his  friend  the  jackal  by  a 
lecture  on  the  charms  of  music.  He  then  begins  to  bray, 
arouses  the  watchmen,  and  receives  a  sound  drubbing. 


With  abundant  irony  and  satire  the  most  various 
human  vices  are  exposed,  among  others  the  hypocrisy 
and  avarice  of  Brahmans,  the  intriguing  character  of 
courtiers,  and  the  faithlessness  of  women.  A  vigorous 
popular  spirit  of  reaction  against  Brahman  pretensions 
here  finds  expression,  and  altogether  a  sound  and  healthy 
view  of  life  prevails,  forming  a  refreshing  contrast  to 
the  exaggeration  found  in  many  branches  of  Indian 

The  following  translation  of  a  short  fable  from  the 
first  book  may  serve  as  a  specimen  of  the  style  of  the 

"There  was  in  a  certain  forest  region  a  herd  of 
monkeys.  Once  in  the  winter  season,  when  their  bodies 
were  shivering  from  contact  with  the  cold  wind,  and 
were  buffeted  with  torrents  of  rain,  they  could  find  no 
rest.  So  some  of  the  monkeys,  collecting  gunja  berries, 
which  are  like  sparks,  stood  round  blowing  in  order 
to  obtain  a  fire.  Now  a  bird  named  Needlebeak, 
seeing  this  vain  endeavour  of  theirs,  exclaimed,  l  Ho, 
you  are  all  great  fools ;  these  are  not  sparks  of  fire, 
they  are  gunja  berries.  Why,  therefore,  this  vain  en- 
deavour ?  You  will  never  protect  yourselves  against 
the  cold  in  this  way.  You  had  better  look  for  a  spot 
in  the  forest  which  is  sheltered  from  the  wind,  or  a 
cave,  or  a  cleft  in  the  mountains.  Even  now  mighty 
rain  clouds  are  appearing/  Thereupon  an  old  monkey 
among  them  said,  l  Ho,  what  business  of  yours  is  this  ? 
Be  off.     There  is  a  saying — 

A  man  of  judgment  who  desires 
His  own  success  should  not  accost 
One  constantly  disturbed  in  work 
Or  gamblers  who  have  lost  at  flay. 


And  another — 

Who  joins  in  conversation  with 
A  hunter  who  has  chased  in  vain, 
Or  with  a  fool  who  has  become 
Involved  in  ruin,  co?nes  to  grief. 

"  The  bird,  however,  without  paying  any  attention  to 
him,  continually  said  to  the  monkeys,  '  Ho,  why  this 
vain  endeavour  ? '  So,  as  he  did  not  for  a  moment  cease 
to  chatter,  one  of  the  monkeys,  enraged  at  their  futile 
efforts,  seized  him  by  the  wings  and  dashed  him  against 
a  stone.    And  so  he  (de)ceased. 

u  Hence  I  say — 

Unbending  wood  cannot  be  bent, 
A  razor  cannot  cut  a  stone: 
Mark  this,  O  Needlebeak !  Try  not 
To  lecture  him  who  will  not  learn" 

(k  similar  collection  of  fables  is  the  celebrated  Hito- 
paaeca,  or  "Salutary  Advice, j which,  owing  to  its  intrinsic 
merit,  is  one  of  the  best  known  and  most  popular  works 
of  Sanskrit  literature  in  India,  and  which,  because  of  its 
suitability  for  teaching  purposes,  is  read  by  nearly  all 
beginners  of  Sanskrit  in  England.  It  is  based  chiefly  on 
the  Panchatantra,  in  which  twenty-five  of  its  forty-three 
fables  are  found.  The  first  three  books  of  the  older  col- 
lection have  been,  in  the  main,  drawn  upon  ;  for  there  is 
but  one  story,  that  of  the  ass  in  the  tiger's  skin,  taken 
from  Book  IV.,  and  only  three  from  Book  V.  The  intro- 
duction is  similar  to  that  of  the  Panchatantra,  but  the 
father  of  the  ignorant  and  vicious  princes  is  here  called 
Sudarcana  of  Pataliputra  (Patna).  The  Hitopadeca  is 
divided  into  four  books.  The  framework  and  titles  of 
the  first  two  agree  with  the  first  two  of  the  Panchatantra, 
bat  in  inverted  order.   (The  third  and  fourth  books  are 


called  "War"  and  "  Peace"  respectively,  the  main  story 
describing  the  conflict  and  reconciliation  of  the  Geese 
and  the  Peacocks. 

The  sententious  element  is  here  much  more  pro- 
minent than  in  the  Panchatantray  and  the  number  of 
verses  introduced  is  often  so  great  as  to  seriously  impede 
the  progress  of  the  prose  narrative.  These  verses,  how- 
ever, abound  in  wise  maxims  and  fine  thoughts.  The 
stanzas  dealing  with  the  transitoriness  of  human  life 
near  the  end  of  Book  IV.  have  a  peculiarly  pensive 
beauty  of  their  own.  The  following  two  may  serve  as 
specimens : — 

As  on  the  mighty  ocean's  waves 
Two  floating  logs  together  come. 
And,  having  met,  for  ever  part : 
So  briefly  joined  are  living  things. 

As  streams  of  rivers  onward  flow, 
And  never  more  return  again  : 
So  day  and  night  still  bear  away 
The  life  oj  every  mortal  man. 

It  is  uncertain  who  was  the  author  of  the  Hitopadeqa  ; 
nor  can  anything  more  definite  be  said  about  the  date  of 
this  compilation  than  that  it  is  more  than  500  years  old, 
as  the  earliest  known  MS.  of  it  was  written  in  1373  A.D. 

As  both  the  Panchatantra  and  the  Hitopadega  were 
originally  intended  as  manuals  for  the  instruction  of 
kings  in  domestic  and  foreign  policy,  they  belong  to 
the  class  of  literature  which  the  Hindus  call  nlti-c-dstra, 
or  "  Science  of  Political  Ethics."  A  purely  metrical 
treatise,  dealing  directly  with  the  principles  of  policy, 
is  the  Niti-sara,  or  "  Essence  of  Conduct,"  of  Kaman- 
daka,  which  is  one  of  the  sources  of  the  maxims  intro- 
duced by  the  author  of  the  Hitopadeqa, 


A  collection  of  pretty  and  ingenious  fairy  tales,  with 
a  highly  Oriental  colouring,  is  the  Vetala-panchavimcati *, 
or  "  Twenty-five  Tales  of  the  Vetala  "  (a  demon  supposed 
to  occupy  corpses).  The  framework  of  Jthis  collection  is 
briefly  as  follows.  King  Vikrama  of  UjjayinI  is  directed 
by  an  ascetic  (yogin)  to  take  down  from  a  tree  and  convey 
a  corpse,  without  uttering  a  single  word,  to  a  spot  in 
a  graveyard  where  certain  rites  for  the  attainment  of 
high  magical  powers  are  to  take  place.  As  the  king  is 
carrying  the  corpse  along  on  his  shoulders,  a  Vetala, 
which  has  entered  it,  begins  to  speak  and  tells  him  a 
fairy  tale.  On  the  king  inadvertently  replying  to  a 
question,  the  corpse  at  once  disappears  and  is  found 
hanging  on  the  tree  again.  The  king  goes  back  to  fetch 
it,  and  the  same  process  is  repeated  till  the  Vetala  has 
told  twenty-five  tales.  Each  of  these  is  so  constructed 
as  to  end  in  a  subtle  problem,  on  which  the  king  is 
asked  to  express  his  opinion.  The  stories  contained  in 
this  work  are  known  to  many  English  readers  under  the 
title  of  Vikram  and  the  Vampire. 

Another  collection  of  fairy  tales  is  the  Simhdsana- 
dvatrimcikdy  or  "Thirty-two  Stories  of  the  Lion-seat "  {i.e. 
throne),  which  also  goes  by  the  name  of  Vikrama-charitay 
or  "  Adventures  of  Vikrama."  Here  it  is  the  throne  of 
King  Vikrama  that  tells  the  tales.  Both  this  and  the 
preceding  collection  are  of  Buddhistic  origin. 

A  third  work  of  the  same  kind  is  the  £uka-saptatiy  or 
"Seventy  Stories  of  a  Parrot."  Here  a  wife,  whose 
husband  is  travelling  abroad,  and  who  is  inclined  to 
run  after  other  men,  turns  to  her  husband's  clever 
parrot  for  advice.  The  bird,  while  seeming  to  approve 
of  her  plans,  warns  her  of  the  risks  she  runs,  and  makes 
her  promise  not  to  go  and  meet  any  paramour  unless 


she  can  extricate  herself  from  difficulties  as  So-and-so 
did.  Requested  to  tell  the  story,  he  does  so,  but  only 
as  far  as  the  dilemma,  when  he  asks  the  woman  what 
course  the  person  concerned  should  take.  As  she  can- 
not guess,  the  parrot  promises  to  tell  her  if  she  stays 
at  home  that  night.  Seventy  days  pass  in  the  same 
way,  till  the  husband  returns. 

These  three  collections  of  fairy  tales  are  all  written 
in  prose  and  are  comparatively  short.  There  is,  how- 
ever, another  of  special  importance,  which  is  composed 
in  verse  and  is  of  very  considerable  length.  For  it  con- 
tains no  less  than  22,000  qlokas,  equal  to  nearly  one- 
fourth  of  the  Mahdbhdrata,  or  to  almost  twice  as  much 
as  the  Iliad  and  Odyssey  put  together.  This  is  the 
Kathd-sarit-sdgara,  or  "  Ocean  of  Rivers  of  Stories."  It 
is  divided  into  124  chapters,  called  tarangas,  or  "  waves," 
to  be  in  keeping  with  the  title  of  the  work.  Independent 
of  these  is  another  division  into  eighteen  books  called 

The  author  was  Somadeva,  a  Kashmirian  poet,  who 
composed  his  work  about  1070  A.D.  Though  he  himself 
was  a  Brahman,  his  work  contains  not  only  many  traces 
of  the  Buddhistic  character  of  his  sources,  but  even  direct 
allusions  to  Buddhist  Birth  Stories.  He  states  the  real 
basis  of  his  work  to  have  been  the  Brihat-kathd,  or  "  Great 
Narration,"  which  Bana  mentions,  by  the  poet  Gunadhya, 
who  is  quoted  by  Dandin.  This  original  must,  in  the 
opinion  of  Biihler,  go  back  to  the  first  or  second  cen- 
tury A.D. 

A  somewhat  earlier  recast  of  this  work  was  made 
about  A.D.  1037  by  a  contemporary  of  Somadeva's  named 
Kshemendra  Vyasadasa.  It  is  entitled  Brihat-kathd- 
manjari,  and  is  only  about  one-third  as  long  as  the  Kathd- 



sarit-sdgara.  Kshemendra  and  Somadeva  worked  inde- 
pendently of  each  other,  and  both  state  that  the  original 
from  which  they  translated  was  written  in  the  pai$achi 
bhdshd  or  "  Goblin  language/'  a  term  applied  to  a  number 
of  Low  Prakrit  dialects  spoken  by  the  most  ignorant  and 
degraded  classes.  The  Kathd-sarit-sdgara  also  contains 
( Tarangas  60-64)  a  recast  of  the  first  three  books  of  the 
Panchatantray  which  books,  it  is  interesting  to  find,  had 
the  same  form  in  Somadeva's  time  as  when  they  were 
translated  into  Pehlevi  (about  570  A.D.). 

Somadeva's  work  contains  many  most  entertaining 
stories ;  for  instance,  that  of  the  king  who,  through 
ignorance  of  the  phonetic  rules  of  Sanskrit  grammar, 
misunderstood  a  remark  made  by  his  wife,  and  over- 
come with  shame,  determined  to  become  a  good  Sanskrit 
scholar  or  die  in  the  attempt.  One  of  the  most  famous 
tales  it  contains  is  that  of  King  (Jibi,  who  offered  up  his 
life  to  save  a  pigeon  from  a  hawk.  It  is  a  Jdtakay  and  is 
often  represented  on  Buddhist  sculptures ;  for  example, 
on  the  tope  of  AmaravatI,  which  dates  from  about  the 
beginning  of  our  era.  It  also  occurs  in  a  Chinese  as 
well  as  a  Muhammadan  form. 

Ethical  Poetry. 

The  proneness  of  the  Indian  mind  to  reflection  not 
only  produced  important  results  in  religion,  philosophy, 
and  science ;  it  also  found  a  more  abundant  expression 
in  poetry  than  the  literature  of  any  other  nation  can 
boast.  Scattered  throughout  the  most  various  depart- 
ments of  Sanskrit  literature  are  innumerable  apophthegms 
in  which  wise  and  noble,  striking  and  original  thoughts 
often    appear   in   a   highly  finished   and   poetical   garb. 


These  are  plentiful  in  the  law-books  ;  in  the  epic  and 
the  drama  they  are  frequently  on  the  lips  of  heroes,  sages, 
and  gods  ;  and  in  fables  are  constantly  uttered  by  tigers, 
jackals,  cats,  and  other  animals.  Above  all,  the  Mahd- 
bhdrata,  which,  to  the  pious  Hindu,  constitutes  a  moral 
encyclopaedia,  is  an  inexhaustible  mine  of  proverbial 
philosophy.  It  is,  however,  natural  that  ethical  maxims 
should  be  introduced  in  greatest  abundance  into  works 
which,  like  the  Panchatantra  and  Hitopadeca,  were  in- 
tended to  be  handbooks  of  practical  moral  philosophy. 

Owing  to  the  universality  of  this  mode  of  expression 
in  Sanskrit  literature,  there  are  but  few  works  consisting 
exclusively  of  poetical  aphorisms.  The  most  important 
are  the  two  collections  by  the  highly-gifted  Bhartrihari, 
entitled  respectively  Niticataka,  or  "  Century  of  Con- 
duct," and  Vairdgya-cataka,  or  "  Century  of  Renuncia- 
tion." Others  are  the  Qdnti-catakay  or  "Century  of 
Tranquillity,"  by  a  Kashmirian  poet  named  ^ilhana  ;  the 
Moha-mudgaray  or  "  Hammer  of  Folly,"  a  short  poem 
commending  the  relinquishment  of  worldly  desires,  and 
wrongly  attributed  to  (^ankaracharya  ;  and  the  Chdnakya- 
cataka,  the  "  Centuries  of  Chanakya,"  the  reputed  author 
of  which  was  famous  in  India  as  a  master  of  diplomacy, 
and  is  the  leading  character  in  the  political  drama  Mudrd- 
rdkshasa.  The  Niti-manjariy  or  "  Cluster  of  Blossoms  of 
Conduct,"  which  has  not  yet  been  published,  is  a  collec- 
tion of  a  peculiar  kind.  The  moral  maxims  which  it 
contains  are  illustrated  by  stories,  and  these  are  taken 
exclusively  from  the  Rigveda.  It  consists  of  about  200 
clokas,  and  was  composed  by  an  author  named  Dya  Dvi- 
veda  who  accompanied  his  work  with  a  commentary.  In 
the  latter  he  quotes  largely  from  the  Brihaddevatd,  Sayana 
on  the  Rigveda,  and  other  authors. 


There  are  also  some  modern  anthologies  of  Sanskrit 
gnomic  poetry.  One  of  these  is  (Jrldharadasa's  Sadukti- 
karndmritay  or  "  Ear-nectar  of  Good  Maxims/'  containing 
quotations  from  446  poets,  mostly  of  Bengal,  and  com- 
piled in  1205  A.D.  The  (^drngadhara-paddhati,  or  "An- 
thology of  (Jarngadhara,"  dating  from  the  fourteenth 
century,  comprises  about  6000  stanzas  culled  from  264 
authors.  The  Subhdshiidvall,  or  "  Series  of  Fine  Sayings," 
compiled  by  Vallabhadeva,  contains  some  3500  stanzas 
taken  from  about  350  poets.  All  that  is  best  in  Sanskrit 
sententious  poetry  has  been  collected  by  Dr.  Bohtlingk, 
the  Nestor  of  Indianists,  in  his  Indische  Spruche.  This 
work  contains  the  text,  critically  edited  and  accompanied 
by  a  prose  German  translation,  of  nearly  8000  stanzas, 
which  are  culled  from  the  whole  field  of  classical  Sanskrit 
literature  and  arranged  according  to  the  alphabetical 
order  of  the  initial  word. 

Though  composed  in  Pali,  the  Dhammapada  may 
perhaps  be  mentioned  here.  It  is  a  collection  of 
aphorisms  representing  the  most  beautiful,  profound, 
and  poetical  thoughts  in  Buddhist  literature. 

The  keynote  prevailing  in  all  this  poetry  is  the  doctrine 
of  the  vanity  of  human  life,  which  was  developed  before 
the  rise  of  Buddhism  in  the  sixth  century  B.C.,  and  has 
dominated  Indian  thought  ever  since.  There  is  no  true 
happiness,  we  are  here  taught,  but  in  the  abandonment 
of  desire  and  retirement  from  the  world.  The  poet  sees 
the  luxuriant  beauties  of  nature  spread  before  his  eyes, 
and  feels  their  charm  ;  but  he  turns  from  them  sad  and 
disappointed  to  seek  mental  calm  and  lasting  happiness 
in  the  solitude  of  the  forest.  Hence  the  picture  of  a 
pious  anchorite  living  in  contemplation  is  often  painted 
with  enthusiasm.     Free  from  all  desires,  he  is  as  happy 


as  a  king,  when  the  earth  is  his  couch,  his  arms  his 
pillow,  the  sky  his  tent,  the  moon  his  lamp,  when  renun- 
ciation is  his  spouse,  and  the  cardinal  points  are  the 
maidens  that  fan  him  with  winds.  No  Indian  poet 
inculcates  renunciation  more  forcibly  than  Bhartri- 
hari ;  the  humorous  and  ironical  touches  which  he  occa- 
sionally introduces  are  doubtless  due  to  the  character  of 
this  remarkable  man,  who  wavered  between  the  spiritual 
and  the  worldly  life  throughout  his  career. 

Renunciation  is  not,  however,  the  only  goal  to  which 
the  transitoriness  of  worldly  goods  leads  the  gnomic 
poets  of  India.  The  necessity  of  pursuing  virtue  is  the 
practical  lesson  which  they  also  draw  from  the  vanity 
of  mundane  existence,  and  which  finds  expression  in 
many  noble  admonitions  : — 

Transient  indeed  is  human  life, 

Like  the  moorts  disc  in  waters  seen  : 

Knowing  how  true  this  is,  a  man 

Should  ever  practise  what  is  good  {Hit.  iv.  133). 

It  is  often  said  that  when  a  man  dies  and  leaves  all 
his  loved  ones  behind,  his  good  works  alone  can  accom- 
pany him  on  his  journey  to  his  next  life.  Nor  should 
sin  ever  be  committed  in  this  life  when  there  is  none  to 
see,  for  it  is  always  witnessed  by  the  u  old  hermit  dwel- 
ling in  the  heart,"  as  the  conscience  is  picturesquely 

That  spirit  of  universal  tolerance  and  love  of  mankind 
which  enabled  Buddhism  to  overstep  the  bounds  not 
only  of  caste  but  of  nationality,  and  thus  to  become  the 
earliest  world-religion,  breathes  throughout  this  poetry. 
Even  the  Mahdbhdrata,  though  a  work  of  the  Brahmans, 
contains  such  liberal  sentiments  as  this  : — 


Men  of  high  rank  win  no  esteem 

If  lacking  in  good  qualities; 

A  Cudra  even  deserves  respect 

Who  knows  and  does,  his  duty  well  (xiii.  2610). 

The  following  stanza  shows  how  cosmopolitan  Bhar- 
trihari  was  in  his  views  : — 

"  This  marts  our  own,  a  stranger  that"  : 
Thus  narrow-minded  people  think. 
However,  noble-ininded  men 
Regard  the  whole  world  as  their  kin. 

But  these  poets  go  even  beyond  the  limits  of  humanity 
and  inculcate  sympathy  with  the  joys  and  sorrows  of  all 
creatures  : — 

To  harm  no  living  thing  in  deed, 

In  thought  or  word,  to  exercise 

Benevolence  and  charity  : 

Virtue's  eternal  law  is  this  (Mahdbh.  xii.  5997). 

Gentleness  and  forbearance  towards  good  and  bad 
alike  are  thus  recommended  in  the  Hitopadeqa : — 

Even  to  beings  destitute  ,  >r<~^ 

Of  virtue  good  men  pity  show  : 

The  moon  does  not  her  light  withdraw 

Even  from  the  pariah's  abode  (i.  63). 

The  Panchatantraj  again,  dissuades  thus  from  thoughts 
of  revenge  ; — 


Devise  no  ill  at  any  time 
To  injure  those  that  do  thee  harm  : 
They  of  themselves  will  some  day  fall, 
Like  trees  that  grow  on  river  banks. 

The  good  qualities  of  the  virtuous  are  often  described 
and   contrasted    with   the   characteristics  of   evil-doers. 


This,    for   instance,    is   how    Bhartrihari   illustrates   the 
humility  of  the  benevolent : — 

The  trees  bend  downward  with  the  burden  of  their  fruit, 
The  clouds  bow  low,  heavy  with  waters  they  will  shed  : 
The  noble  hold  not  high  their  heads  through  pride  of 'wealth  j 
Thus  those  behave  who  are  on  others'  good  intent  (i.  71). 

Many  fine  thoughts  about  true  friendship  and  the 
value  of  intercourse  with  good  men  are  found  here,  often 
exemplified  in  a  truly  poetical  spirit.  This,  for  instance, 
is  from  the  Panchatantra : — 

Who  is  not  made  a  better  man 

By  contact  with  a  noble  friend? 

A  water-drop  on  lotus-leaves 

Assumes  the  splendour  of  a  pearl  (iii.  61). 

It  is  perhaps  natural  that  poetry  with  a  strong  pes- 
simistic colouring  should  contain  many  bitter  sayings 
about  women  and  their  character.  Here  is  an  example 
of  how  they  are  often  described  : — 

The  love  of  women  but  a  moment  lasts, 
Like  colours  of  the  dawn  or  evening  red  j 
Their  aims  are  crooked  like  a  river's  course; 
Inconstant  are  they  as  the  lightning  flash ; 
.    Like  serpents,  they  deserve  no  confidence  {Kathas.  xxxvii.  143). 

At  the  same  time  there  are  several  passages  in  which 
female  character  is  represented  in  a  more  favourable 
light,  and  others  sing  the  praise  of  faithful  wives. 

Here,  too,  we  meet  with  many  pithy  sayings  about 
the  misery  of  poverty  and  the  degradation  of  servitude ; 
while  the  power  of  money  to  invest  the  worthless  man 
with  the  appearance  of  every  talent  and  virtue  is  de- 
scribed with  bitter  irony  and  scathing  sarcasm. 

As  might  be  expected,  true  knowledge  receives  fre- 


quent  and  high  appreciation  in  Sanskrit  ethical  poetry. 
It  is  compared  with  a  rich  treasure  which  cannot  be 
divided  among  relations,  which  no  thief  can  steal,  and 
which  is  never  diminished  by  being  imparted  to  others. 
Contempt,  on  the  other  hand,  is  poured  on  pedantry 
and  spurious  learning.  Those  who  have  read  many 
books,  without  understanding  their  sense,  are  likened  to 
an  ass  laden  with  sandal  wood,  who  feels  only  the 
weight,  but  knows  nothing  of  the  value  of  his  burden. 

As  the  belief  in  transmigration  has  cast  its  shadow 
over  Indian  thought  from  pre-Buddhistic  times,  it  is 
only  natural  that  the  conception  of  fate  should  be 
prominent  in  Sanskrit  moral  poetry.  Here,  indeed,  we 
often  read  that  no  one  can  escape  from  the  operation  of 
destiny,  but  at  the  same  time  we  find  constant  admoni- 
tions not  to  let  this  fact  paralyse  human  effort.  For, 
as  is  shown  in  the  Hitopadeqa  and  elsewhere,  fate  is 
nothing  else  than  the  result  of  action  done  in  a  former 
birth.  Hence  every  man  can  by  right  conduct  shape  his 
future  fate,  just  as  a  potter  can  mould  a  lump  of  clay 
into  whatever  form  he  desires.  Human  action  is  thus 
a  necessary  complement  to  fate  ;  the  latter  cannot  pro- 
ceed without  the  former  any  more  than  a  cart,  as  the 
Hitopadeqa  expresses  it,  can  move  with  only  one  wheel. 
This  doctrine  is  inculcated  with  many  apt  illustrations. 
Thus  in  one  stanza  of  the  Hitopadega  it  is  pointed  out 
that  "  antelopes  do  not  enter  into  the  mouth  of  the 
sleeping  lion  "  ;  in  another  the  question  is  asked,  "  Who 
without  work  could  obtain  oil  from  sesamum  seeds  ? " 
Or,  as  the  Mahdbharata  once  puts  it,  fate  without  human 
action  cannot  be  fulfilled,  just  as  seed  sown  outside  the 
field  bears  no  fruit. 

For  those   who   are  suffering  from   the  assaults   of 


adverse  fate  there  are  many  exhortations  to  firmness 
and  constancy.  The  following  is  a  stanza  of  this  kind 
from  the  Panchatantra : — 

In  fortune  and  calamity 
The  great  ever  remain  the  same  ; 
The  sun  is  at  its  rising  red, 
Red  also  when  about  to  set. 

Collected  in  the  ethico-didactic  works  which  have 
been  described  in  this  chapter,  and  scattered  through- 
out the  rest  of  the  literature,  the  notions  held  by  the 
Brahmans  in  the  sphere  of  moral  philosophy  have  never 
received  a  methodical  treatment,  as  in  the  Pali  literature 
of  Buddhism.  In  the  orthodox  systems  of  Hindu  philo- 
sophy, to  which  we  now  turn,  they  find  no  place. 



The  beginnings  of  Indian  philosophy,  which  are  to  be 
found  in  the  latest  hymns  of  the  Rigveda  and  in  the 
Atharvaveda,  are  concerned  with  speculations  on  the 
origin  of  the  world  and  on  the  eternal  principle  by 
which  it  is  created  and  maintained.  The  Yajui~veda 
further  contains  fantastic  cosmogonic  legends  describ- 
ing how  the  Creator  produces  all  things  by  means  of  the 
omnipotent  sacrifice.  With  these  Vedic  ideas  are  inti- 
mately connected,  and  indeed  largely  identical,  those  of 
the  earlier  Upanishads.  This  philosophy  is  essentially 
pantheistic  and  idealistic.  By  the  side  of  it  grew  up  an 
atheistic  and  empirical  school  of  thought,  which  in  the 
sixth  century  B.C.  furnished  the  foundation  of  the  two 
great  unorthodox  religious  systems  of  Buddhism  and 

The  Upanishad  philosophy  is  in  a  chaotic  condition, 
but  the  speculations  of  this  and  of  other  schools  of 
thought  were  gradually  reduced  to  order  and  systema- 
tised  in  manuals  from  about  the  first  century  of  our 
era  onwards.  Altogether  nine  systems  may  be  distin- 
guished, some  of  which  must  in  their  origin  go  back 
to  the  beginning  of  the  sixth  century  B.C.  at  least.  Of 
the  six  systems  which  are  accounted  orthodox  no  less 
than  four  were  originally  atheistic,  and  one  remained 
so  throughout.    The  strangeness  of  this  fact  disappears 



when  we  reflect  that  the  only  conditions  of  orthodoxy 
in  India  were  the  recognition  of  the  class  privileges  of 
the  Brahman  caste  and  a  nominal  acknowledgment  of 
the  infallibility  of  the  Veda,  neither  full  agreement  with 
Vedic  doctrines  nor  the  confession  of  a  belief  in  the 
existence  of  God  being  required.  With  these  two  limi- 
tations the  utmost  freedom  of  thought  prevailed  in 
Brahmanism.  Hence  the  boldest  philosophical  specula- 
tion and  conformity  with  the  popular  religion  went  hand 
and  hand,  to  a  degree  which  has  never  been  equalled  in 
any  other  country.  Of  the  orthodox  systems,  by  far  the 
most  important  are  the  pantheistic  Vedanta,  which,  as 
continuing  the  doctrines  of  the  Upanishads,  has  been 
the  dominant  philosophy  of  Brahmanism  since  the  end 
of  the  Vedic  period,  and  the  atheistic  Sankhya,  which, 
for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  the  world,  asserted 
the  complete  independence  of  the  human  mind  and 
attempted  to  solve  its  problems  solely  by  the  aid  of 

On  the  Sankhya  were  based  the  two  heterodox  re- 
ligious systems  of  Buddhism  and  Jainism,  which  denied 
the  authority  of  the  Veda,  and  opposed  the  Brahman 
caste  system  and  ceremonial.  Still  more  heterodox  was 
the  Materialist  philosophy  of  Charvaka,  which  went 
further  and  denied  even  the  fundamental  doctrines 
common  to  all  other  schools  of  Indian  thought,  orthodox 
and  unorthodox,  the  belief  in  transmigration  dependent 
on  retribution,  and  the  belief  in  salvation  or  release  from 

The  theory  that  every  individual  passes  after  death  into 
a  series  of  new  existences  in  heavens  or  hells,  or  in  the 
bodies  of  men  and  animals,  or  in  plants  on  earth,  where 
it  is  rewarded  or  punished  for  all  deeds  committed  in  a 


former  life,  was  already  so  firmly  established  in  the  sixth 
century  B.C.,  that  Buddha  received  it  without  question 
into  his  religious  system  ;  and  it  has  dominated  the  belief 
of  the  Indian  people  from  those  early  times  down  to  the 
present  day.  There  is,  perhaps,  no  more  remarkable 
fact  in  the  history  of  the  human  mind  than  that  this 
strange  doctrine,  never  philosophically  demonstrated, 
should  have  been  regarded  as  self-evident  for  2500  years 
by  every  philosophical  school  or  religious  sect  in  India, 
excepting  only  the  Materialists.  By  the  acceptance  ot 
this  doctrine  the  Vedic  optimism,  which  looked  forward 
to  a  life  of  eternal  happiness  in  heaven,  was  transformed 
into  the  gloomy  prospect  of  an  interminable  series  of 
miserable  existences  leading  from  one  death  to  another. 
The  transition  to  the  developed  view  of  the  Upanishads 
is  to  be  found  in  the  ^atapatha  Brahmana  (above,  p. 

How  is  the  origin  of  the  momentous  doctrine  which 
produced  this  change  to  be  accounted  for  ?  The 
Rigveda  contains  no  traces  of  it  beyond  a  couple  of 
passages  in  the  last  book  which  speak  of  the  soul  of 
a  dead  man  as  going  to  the  waters  or  plants.  It  seems 
hardly  likely  that  so  far-reaching  a  theory  should  have 
been  developed  from  the  stray  fancies  of  one  or  two 
later  Vedic  poets.  It  seems  more  probable  that  the  Aryan 
settlers  received  the  first  impulse  in  this  direction  from 
the  aboriginal  inhabitants  of  India.  As  is  well  known, 
there  is  among  half-savage  tribes  a  wide-spread  belief 
that  the  soul  after  death  passes  into  the  trunks  of  trees 
and  the -bodies  of  animals.  Thus  the  Sonthals  of  India 
are  said  even  at  the  present  day  to  hold  that  the  souls  of 
the  good  enter  into  fruit-bearing  trees.  But  among  such 
races  the  notion  of  transmigration  does  not  go  beyond  a 


belief  in  the  continuance  of  human  existence  in  animals 
and  trees.  If,  therefore,  the  Aryan  Indians  borrowed  the 
idea  from  the  aborigines,  they  certainly  deserve  the  credit 
of  having  elaborated  out  of  it  the  theory  of  an  unbroken 
chain  of  existences,  intimately  connected  with  the  moral 
principle  of  requital.  The  immovable  hold  it  acquired  on 
Indian  thought  is  doubtless  due  to  the  satisfactory  ex- 
planation it  offered  of  the  misfortune  or  prosperity  which 
is  often  clearly  caused  by  no  action  done  in  this  life. 
Indeed,  the  Indian  doctrine  of  transmigration,  fantastic 
though  it  may  appear  to  us,  has  the  twofold  merit  of 
satisfying  the  requirement  of  justice  in  the  moral  govern- 
ment of  the  world,  and  at  the  same  time  inculcating  a 
valuable  ethical  principle  which  makes  every  man  the 
architect  of  his  own  fate.  For,  as  every  bad  deed  done 
in  this  existence  must  be  expiated,  so  every  good  deed 
will  be  rewarded  in  the  next  existence.  From  the  enjoy- 
ment of  the  fruits  of  actions  already  done  there  is  no 
escape  ;  for,  in  the  words  of  the  Mahabhdratay  "  as  among 
a  thousand  cows  a  calf  finds  its  mother,  so  the  deed 
previously  done  follows  after  the  doer." 

The  cycle  of  existences  (samsdrd)  is  regarded  as 
having  no  beginning,  for  as  every  event  of  the  present 
life  is  the  result  of  an  action  done  in  a  past  one,  the 
same  must  hold  true  of  each  preceding  existence  ad 
infinitum.  The  subsequent  effectiveness  of  guilt  and  of 
merit,  commonly  called  adrishta  or  "the  unseen,"  but 
often  also  simply  karma,  "deed  or  work,"  is  believed 
to  regulate  not  only  the  life  of  the  individual,  but  the 
origin  and  development  of  everything  in  the  world ;  for 
whatever  takes  place  cannot  but  affect  some  creature, 
and  must  therefore,  by  the  law  of  retribution,  be  due 
to  some  previous  act  of  that  creature.     In  other  words, 


the  operations  of  nature  are  also  the  results  of  the 
good  or  bad  deeds  of  living  beings.  There  is  thus  no 
room  for  independent  divine  rule  by  the  side  of  the 
power  of  karma,  which  governs  everything  with  iron 
necessity.  Hence,  even  the  systems  which  acknowledge 
a  God  can  only  assign  to  him  the  function  of  guiding  the 
world  and  the  life  of  creatures  in  strict  accordance  with 
the  law  of  retribution,  which  even  he  cannot  break.  The 
periodic  destruction  and  renewal  of  the  universe,  an 
application  of  the  theory  on  a  grand  scale,  forms  part  of 
the  doctrine  of  samsara  or  cycle  of  existence. 

Common  to  all  the  systems  of  philosophy,  and  as  old 
as  that  of  transmigration,  is  the  doctrine  of  salvation, 
which  puts  an  end  to  transmigration.  All  action  is  brought 
about  by  desire,  which,  in  its  turn  is  based  on  avidya,  a 
sort  of  "ignorance,"  that  mistakes  the  true  nature  of 
things,  and  is  the  ultimate  source  of  transmigration. 
Originally  having  only  the  negative  sense  of  non-know- 
ledge (a-vidyd),  the  word  here  came  to  have  the  positive 
sense  of  "  false  knowledge."  Such  ignorance  is  dispelled 
by  saving  knowledge,  which,  according  to  every  philo- 
sophical school  of  India,  consists  in  some  special  form 
of  cognition.  This  universal  knowledge,  which  is  not 
the  result  of  merit,  but  breaks  into  life  independently, 
destroys,  the  subsequent  effect  of  works  which  would 
otherwise  bear  fruit  in  future  existences,  and  thus  puts 
an  end  to  transmigration.  It  cannot,  however,  influence 
those  works  the  fruit  of  which  has  already  begun  to 
ripen.  Hence,  the  present  life  continues  from  the 
moment  of  enlightenment  till  definite  salvation  at  death, 
just  as  the  potter's  wheel  goes  on  revolving  for  a  time 
after  the  completion  of  the  pot.  But  no  merit  or  de- 
merit  results   from   acts  done   after   enlightenment  (or 


"  conversion  "  as  we  should  say),  because  all  desire  for 
the  objects  of  the  world  is  at  an  end. 

The  popular  beliefs  about  heavens  and  hells,  gods, 
demi-gods,  and  demons,  were  retained  in  Buddhism  and 
Jainism,  as  well  as  in  the  orthodox  systems.  But  these 
higher  and  more  fortunate  beings  were  considered  to  be 
also  subject  to  the  law  of  transmigration,  and,  unless  they 
obtained  saving  knowledge,  to  be  on  a  lower  level  than 
the  man  who  had  obtained  such  knowledge. 

The  monistic  theory  of  the  early  Upanishads,  which 
identified  the  individual  soul  with  Brahma,  aroused  the 
opposition  of  the  rationalistic  founder  of  the  Sankhya 
system,  Kapila,  who,  according  to  Buddhist  legends, 
was  pre-Buddhistic,  and  whose  doctrines  Buddha  fol- 
lowed and  elaborated.  His  teaching  is  entirely  dual- 
istic,  admitting  only  two  things,  both  without  beginning 
and  end,  but  essentially  different,  matter  on  the  one 
hand,  and  an  infinite  plurality  of  individual  souls  on 
the  other.  An  account  of  the  nature  and  the  mutual 
relation  of  these  two,  forms  the  main  i  content  of  the 
system.  Kapila  was,  indeed,  the  first  who  drew  a  sharp 
line  of  demarcation  between  the  two  domains  of  matter 
and  soul.  The  saving  knowledge  which  delivers  from 
the  misery  of  transmigration  consists,  according  to  the 
Sankhya  system,  in  recognising  the  absolute  distinction 
between  soul  and  matter. 

The  existence  of  a  supreme  god  who  creates  and 
rules  the  universe  is  denied,  and  would  be  irreconcilable 
with  the  system.  For  according  to  its  doctrine  the  un- 
conscious matter  of  Nature  originally  contains  within 
itself  the  power  of  evolution  (in  the  interest  of  souls, 
which  are  entirely  passive  during  the  process),  while 
karma  alone  determines  the  course    of   that  evolution. 


The  adherents  of  the  system  defend  their  atheism 
by  maintaining  that  the  origin  of  misery  presents  an 
insoluble  problem  to  the  theist,  for  a  god  who  has 
created  and  rules  the  world  could  not  possibly  escape 
from  the  reproach  of  cruelty  and  partiality.  Much  stress 
is  laid  by  this  school  in  general  on  the  absence  of  any 
cogent  proof  for  the  existence  of  God. 

The  world  is  maintained  to  be  real,  and  that  from 
all  eternity  ;  for  the  existent  can  only  be  produced  from 
the  existent.  The  reality  of  an  object  is  regarded  as 
resulting  simply  from  perception,  always  supposing  the 
senses  of  the  perceiver  to  be  sound.  The  world  is 
described  as  developing  according  to  certain  laws  out 
of  primitive  matter  (prakriti  or  pradhdnd).  The  genuine 
philosophic  spirit  of  its  method  of  rising  from  the  known 
elements  of  experience  to  the  unknown  by  logical  de- 
monstration till  the  ultimate  cause  is  reached,  must 
give  this  system  a  special  interest  in  the  eyes  of  evolu- 
tionists whose  views  are  founded  on  the  results  of 
modern  physical  science. 

The  evolution  and  diversity  of  the  world  are  ex- 
plained by  primaeval  matter,  although  uniform  and 
indivisible,  consisting  of  three  different  substances  called 
gunas  or  constituents  (originally  "strands"  of  a  rope). 
By  the  combination  of  these  in  varying  proportions  the 
diverse  material  products  were  supposed  to  have  arisen. 
The  constituent,  called  sattva,  distinguished  by  the 
qualities  of  luminousness  and  lightness  in  the  object,  and 
by  virtue,  benevolence,  and  other  pleasing  attributes  in 
the  subject,  is  associated  with  the  feeling  of  joy;  rajas , 
distinguished  by  activity  and  various  hurtful  qualities, 
is  associated  with  pain  ;  and  tamas,  distinguished  by 
heaviness,  rigidity,  and  darkness  on  the  one  hand,  and 


fear,  unconsciousness,  and  so  forth,  on  the  other,  is 
associated  with  apathy.  At  the  end  of  a  cosmic  period 
all  things  are  supposed  to  be  dissolved  into  primitive 
matter,  the  alternations  of  evolution,  existence,  and  dis- 
solution having  neither  beginning  nor  end. 

The  psychology  of  the  Sankhya  system  is  specially 
important.  Peculiarly  interesting  is  its  doctrine  that 
all  mental  operations,  such  as  perception,  thinking, 
willing,  are  not  performed  by  the  soul,  but  are  merely 
mechanical  processes  of  the  internal  organs,  that  is  to 
say,  of  matter.  The  soul  itself  possesses  no  attributes 
or  qualities,  and  can  only  be  described  negatively. 
There  being  no  qualitative  difference  between  souls, 
the  principle  of  personality  and  identity  is  supplied  by 
the  subtile  or  internal  body,  which,  chiefly  formed  of 
the  inner  organs  and  the  senses,  surrounds  and  is  made 
conscious  by  the  soul.  This  internal  body,  being  the 
vehicle  of  merit  and  demerit,  which  are  the  basis  of 
transmigration,  accompanies  the  soul  on  its  wanderings 
from  one  gross  body  to  another,  whether  the  latter  be 
that  of  a  god,  a  man,  an  animal,  or  a  tree.  Conscious 
life  is  bondage  to  pain,  in  which  pleasure  is  included 
by  this  peculiarly  pessimistic  system.  When  salvation, 
which  is  the  absolute  cessation  of  pain,  is  obtained,  the 
internal  body  is  dissolved  into  its  material  elements,  and 
the  soul,  becoming  finally  isolated,  continues  to  exist 
individually,  but  in  absolute  unconsciousness. 

The  name  of  the  system,  which  only  begins  to  be 
mentioned  in  the  later  Upanishads,  and  more  frequently 
in  the  Mahdbhdrata,  is  derived  from  sanikhyd,  il  number." 
There  is,  however,  some  doubt  as  to  whether  it  origi- 
nally meant  u  enumeration,"  from  the  twenty-five  tattvas 
or   principles   which    it    sets    forth,   or   "  inferential   or 


discriminative "  doctrine,  from  the  method  which  it 

Kapila,  the  founder  of  the  system,  whose  teaching  is 
presupposed  by  Buddhism,  and  whom  Buddhistic  legend 
connects  with  Kapila-vastu,  the  birthplace  of  Buddha, 
must  have  lived  before  the  middle  of  the  sixth  century. 
No  work  of  his,  if  he  ever  committed  his  system  to 
writing,  has  been  preserved.  Indeed,  the  very  existence 
of  such  a  person  as  Kapila  has  been  doubted,  in  spite 
of  the  unanimity  with  which  Indian  tradition  designates 
a  man  of  this  name  as  the  founder  of  the  system.  The 
second  leading  authority  of  the  Sankhya  philosophy 
was  Panchacikha,  who  may  have  lived  about  the  be- 
ginning of  our  era.  The  oldest  systematic  manual 
which  has  been  preserved  is  the  Sankhya  -  karika 
of  I^VARA-KRISHNA.  As  it  was  translated  into  Chinese 
between  557  and  583  A.D.,  it  cannot  belong  to  a  later 
century  than  the  fifth,  and  may  be  still  older.  This 
work  deals  very  concisely  and  methodically  with  the 
doctrines  of  the  Sankhya  in  sixty-nine  stanzas  (com- 
posed in  the  complicated  Arya  metre),  to  which  three 
others  were  subsequently  added.  It  appears  to  have 
superseded  the  Sutras  of  Panchacikha,  who  is  mentioned 
in  it  as*  the  chief  disseminator  of  the  system.  There 
are  two  excellent  commentaries  on  the  Sdnkkya-kdrikd, 
the  one  composed  about  700  A.D.  by  Gaudapada,  and 
the  other  soon  after  1100  A.D.  by  Vachaspati  Micra. 

The  Sankhya  Sutras,  long  regarded  as  the  oldest 
manual  of  the  system,  and  attributed  to  Kapila,  were 
probably  not  composed  till  about  1400  A.D.  The  author 
of  this  work,  which  also  goes  by  the  name  of  Sankhya- 
pravachana,  endeavours  in  vain  to  show  that  there  is 
no  difference  between  the  doctrines  of  the  Sankhya  and 


of  the  Upanishads.  He  is  also  much  influenced  by  the 
ideas  of  the  Yoga  as  well  as  the  Vedanta  system.  In 
the  oldest  commentary  on  this  work,  that  of  Aniruddha, 
composed  about  1500  A.D.,  the  objectiveness  of  the 
treatment  is  particularly  useful.  Much  more  detailed, 
but  far  less  objective,  is  the  commentary  of  Vijnana- 
bhikshu,  entitled  Sankhya  - pravachana  -  bhdshya,  and 
written  in  the  second  half  of  the  sixteenth  century. 
The  author's  point  of  view  being  theistic,  he  effaces 
the  characteristic  features  of  the  different  systems  in 
the  endeavour  to  show  that  all  the  six  orthodox  systems 
contain  the  absolute  truth  in  their  main  doctrines. 

From  the  beginning  of  our  era  down  to  recent  times 
the  Sankhya  doctrines  have  exercised  considerable  in- 
fluence on  the  religious  and  philosophical  life  of  India, 
though  to  a  much  less  extent  than  the  Vedanta.  Some 
of  its  individual  teachings,  such  as  that  of  the  three 
gunasy  have  become  the  common  property  of  the  whole 
of  Sanskrit  literature.  At  the  time  of  the  great  Vedan- 
tist,  (Jankara  (800  A.D.),  the  Sankhya  system  was  held 
in  high  honour.  The  law  book  of  Manu  followed  this 
doctrine,  though  with  an  admixture  of  the  theistic 
notions  of  the  Mlmamsa  and  Vedanta  systems  as  well 
as  of  popular  mythology.  The  Mahabharata,  especially 
Book  XII.,  is  full  of  Sankhya  doctrines;  indeed  almost 
every  detail  of  the  teachings  of  this  system  is  to  be 
found  somewhere  in  the  great  epic.  Its  numerous 
deviations  from  the  regular  Sankhya  text-books  are  only 
secondary,  as  Professor  Garbe  thinks,  even  though  the 
Mahdbhdrata  is  our  oldest  actual  source  for  the  system. 
Nearly  half  the  Puranas  follow  the  cosmogony  of  the 
Sankhya,  and  even  those  which  are  Vedantic  are  largely 
influenced  by  its  doctrines.     The  purity  of  the  Sankhya 


notions  are,  however,  everywhere  in  the  Puranas"  ob- 
scured by  Vedanta  doctrines,  especially  that  of  cos- 
mical  illusion.  A  peculiarity  of  the  Puranic  Sankhya  is 
the  conception  of  Spirit  or  Purusha  as  the  male,  and 
Matter  or  Prakriti  as  the  female,  principle  in  creation. 

On  the  Sankhya  system  are  based  the  two  philoso- 
phical religions  of  Buddhism  and  Jainism  in  all  their 
main  outlines.  Their  fundamental  doctrine  is  that  life 
is  nothing  but  suffering.  The  cause  of  suffering  is  the 
desire,  based  on  ignorance,  to  live  and  enjoy  the  world. 
The  aim  of  both  is  to  redeem  mankind  from  the  misery 
of  mundane  existence  by  the  annihilation  of  desire,  with 
the  aid  of  renunciation  of  the  world  and  the  practice  of 
unbounded  kindness  towards  all  creatures.  These  two 
pessimistic  religions  are  so  extremely  similar  that  the 
Jainas,  or  adherents  of  Jina,  were  long  looked  upon  as 
a  Buddhist  sect.  Research  has,  however,  led  to  the  dis- 
covery that  the  founders  of  both  systems  were  contem- 
poraries, the  most  eminent  of  the  many  teachers  who 
in  the  sixth  century  opposed  the  Brahman  ceremonial 
and  caste  pretensions  in  Northern  Central  India.  Both 
religions,  while  acknowledging  the  lower  and  ephemeral 
gods  of  Brahmanism,  deny,  like  the  Sankhya,  the  exist- 
ence of  an  eternal  supreme  Deity.  As  they  developed, 
they  diverged  in  various  respects  from  the  system  to 
which  they  owed  their  philosophical  notions.  Hence  it 
came  about  that  Sankhya  writers  stoutly  opposed  some 
of  their  teachings,  particularly  the  Buddhist  denial  of 
soul,  the  doctrine  that  all  things  have  only  a  momentary 
existence,  and  that  salvation  is  an  annihilation  of  self. 
Here,  however,  it  should  be  noted  that  Buddha^ himself 
refused  to  decide  the  question  whether  nirvana  is  com- 
plete extinction  or  an  unending  state  of  unconscious  bliss. 


The  latter  view  was  doubtless  a  concession  to  the 
Vedantic  conception  of  Brahma,  in  which  the  individual 
soul  is  merged  on  attaining  salvation. 

The  importance  of  these  systems  lies  not  in  their 
metaphysical  speculations,  which  occupy  but  a  sub- 
ordinate position,  but  in  their  high  development  of 
moral  principles,  which  are  almost  entirely  neglected 
in  the  orthodox  systems  of  Indian  philosophy.  The  fate 
of  the  two  religions  has  been  strangely  different.  Jain- 
ism  has  survived  as  an  insignificant  sect  in  India  alone ; 
Buddhism  has  long  since  vanished  from  the  land  of  its 
birth,  but  has  become  a  world  religion  counting  more 
adherents  than  any  other  faith. 

The  Sankhya  philosophy,  with  the  addition  of  a 
peculiar  form  of  mental  asceticism  as  the  most  effec- 
tive means  of  acquiring  saving  knowledge,  appears  to 
have  assumed  definite  shape  in  a  manual  at  an  earlier 
period  than  any  of  the  other  orthodox  systems.  This  is 
the  Yoga  philosophy  founded  by  Patanjali  and  ex- 
pounded in  the  Yoga  Sutras,  The  priority  of  this  text- 
book is  rendered  highly  probable  by  the  fact  that  it  is 
the  only  philosophical  Sutra  work  which  contains  no 
polemics  against  the  others.  There  seems,  moreover,  to 
be  no  sufficient  ground  to  doubt  the  correctness  of  the 
native  tradition  identifying  the  founder  of  the  Yoga 
system  with  the  grammarian  Patanjali.  The  Yoga 
Sutras  therefore  probably  date  from  the  second  century 
B.C.  This  work  also  goes  by  the  name  of  Sankhya-pra- 
vachana,  the  same  as  that  given  to  the  later  Sankhya 
Sutras,  a  sufficiently  clear  proof  of  its  close  connection 
with  Kapila's  philosophy.  In  the  Mahabharata  the  two 
systems  are  actually  spoken  of  as  one  and  the  same. 

In  order  to  make  his  system  more  acceptable,  Patan- 



jali  introduced  into  it  the  doctrine  of  a  personal  god, 
but  in  so  loose  a  way  as  not  to  affect  the  system  as  a 
whole.  Indeed,  the  parts  of  the  Sutras  dealing  with  the 
person  of  God  are  not  only  unconnected  with  the  other 
parts  of  the  treatise,  but  even  contradict  the  foundations 
of  the  system.  For  the  final  aim  of  man  is  here  repre- 
sented as  the  absolute  isolation  (kaivafya)  of  the  soul 
from  matter,  just  as  in  the  Sankhya  system,  and  not 
union  with  or  absorption  in  God.  Nor  are  the  indivi- 
dual souls  here  derived  from  the  u  special  soul  "  or  God, 
but  are  like  the  latter  without  a  beginning. 

The  really  distinctive  part  of  the  system  is  the 
establishment  of  the  views  prevailing  in  Patanjali's  time 
with  regard  to  asceticism  and  the  mysterious  powers 
to  be  acquired  by  its  practice.  Yoga,  or  "  yoking  "  the 
mind,  means  mental  concentration  on  a  particular 
object.  The  belief  that  fasting  and  other  penances 
produce  supernatural  powers  goes  back  to  remote  pre- 
historic times,  and  still  prevails  among  savage  races. 
Bodily  asceticism  of  this  kind  is  known  to  the  Vedas 
under  the  name  of  tapas.  From  this,  with  the  advance 
of  intellectual  life  in  India,  was  developed  the  practice 
of  mental  asceticism  called  yoga,  which  must  have  been 
known  and  practised  several  centuries  before  Patanjali's 
time.  For  recent  investigations  have  shown  that  Bud- 
dhism started  not  only  from  the  theoretical  Sankhya 
but  from  the  practical  Yoga  doctrine  ;  and  the  condition 
of  ecstatic  abstraction  was  from  the  beginning  held 
in  high  esteem  among  the  Buddhists.  Patanjali  only 
elaborated  the  doctrine,  describing  at  length  the  means 
of  attaining  concentration  and  carrying  it  to  the  highest 
pitch.  In  his  system  the  methodical  practice  of  Yoga 
acquired  a  special  importance ;  for,  in  addition  to  con- 


ferring  supernatural  powers,  it  here  becomes  the  chief 
means  of  salvation.  His  Sutras  consist  of  four  chapters 
dealing  with  deep  meditation  (samddki),  the  means  for 
obtaining  it  {sddhana),  the  miraculous  powers  {vibhuti) 
it  confers,  and  the  isolation  (kaivalyd)  of  the  redeemed 
soul.  The  oldest  and  best  commentary  on  this  work 
is  that  of  Vyasa,  dating  from  the  seventh  century  A.D. 

Many  of  the  later  Upanishads  are  largely  concerned 
with  the  Yoga  doctrine.  The  lawbook  of  Manu  in 
Book  VI.  refers  to  various  details  of  Yoga  practice. 
Indeed,  it  seems  likely,  owing  to  the  theistic  point  of 
view  of  that  work,  that  its  Sankhya  notions  were  de- 
rived from  the  Yoga  system.  The  MahdbJidrata  treats 
of  Yoga  in  considerable  detail,  especially  in  Book  XII. 
It  is  particularly  prominent  in  the  Bhagavadgltd,  which 
is  even  designated  a  yoga-qdstra.  Belief  in  the  efficacy 
of  Yoga  still  prevails  in  India,  and  its  practice  survives. 
But  its  adherents,  the  Yogis,  are  at  the  present  day 
often  nothing  more  than  conjurers  and  jugglers. 

The  exercises  of  mental  concentration  are  in  the 
later  commentaries  distinguished  by  the  name  of  rdja- 
yoga  or  "  chief  Yoga."  The  external  expedients  are 
called  kriyd-yoga,  or  "  practical  Yoga."  The  more  in- 
tense form  of  the  latter,  in  later  works  called  hatha- 
yoga,  or  "  forcible  Yoga,"  and  dealing  for  the  most 
part  with  suppression  of  the  breath,  is  very  often  con- 
trasted with  rdja-yoga. 

Among  the  eight  branches  of  Yoga  practice  the 
sitting  posture  (dsana),  as  not  only  conducive  to  con- 
centration, but  of  therapeutic  value,  is  considered  im- 
portant. In  describing  its  various  forms  later  writers 
positively  revelled,  eighty-four  being  frequently  stated' 
to   be   their  normal   number.     In  the  Jiatha-yoga  there 


are  also  a  number  of  other  postures  and  contortions 
of  the  limbs  designated  mudrd.  The  best-known  mudrd, 
called  khecharl,  consists  in  turning  the  tongue  back 
towards  the  throat  and  keeping  the  gaze  fixed  on  a 
point  between  the  eyebrows.  Such  practices,  in  con- 
junction with  the  suppression  of  breath,  were  capable 
of  producing  a  condition  of  trance.  There  is  at  least 
the  one  well-authenticated  case  of  a  Yogi  named  Haridas 
who  in  the  thirties  wandered  about  in  Rajputana  and 
Lahore,  allowing  himself  to  be  buried  for  money  when 
in  the  cataleptic  condition.  The  burial  of  the  Master 
of  Ballantrae  by  the  Indian  Secundra  Dass  in  Stevenson's 
novel  was  doubtless  suggested  by  an  account  of  this 

In  contrast  with  the  two  older  and  intimately  con- 
nected dualistic  schools  of  the  Sankhya  and  Yoga,  there 
arose  about  the  beginning  of  our  era  the  only  two,  even 
of  the  six  orthodox  systems  of  philosophy,  which  were 
theistic  from  the  outset.  One  of  them,  being  based  on 
the  Vedas  and  the  Brahmanas,  is  concerned  with  the 
practical  side  of  Vedic  religion ;  while  the  other,  alone 
among  the  philosophical  systems,  represents  a  methodi- 
cal development  of  the  fundamental  non-dualistic  specu- 
lations of  the  Upanishads.  The  former,  which  has  only 
been  accounted  a  philosophical  system  at  all  because 
of  its  close  connection  with  the  latter,  is  the  Purva- 
mimdmsd  or  "  First  Inquiry,"  also  called  Karma-mlmdinsd 
or  (i  Inquiry  concerning  Works,"  but  usually  simply 
Mimdmsd.  Founded  by  Jaimini,  and  set  forth  in  the 
Karma-mimdmsd  Sutras,  this  system  discusses  the  sacred 
ceremonies  and  the  rewards  resulting  from  their  per- 
formance. Holding  the  Veda  to  be  uncreated  and 
existent  from  all  eternity,  it  lays  special  stress  on  the 


proposition  that  articulate  sounds  are  eternal,  and  on 
the  consequent  doctrine  that  the  connection  of  a  word 
with  its  sense  is  not  due  to  convention,  but  is  by  nature 
inherent  in  the  word  itself.  Owing  to  its  lack  of  philo- 
sophical interest,  this  system  has  not  as  yet  much 
occupied  the  attention  of  European  scholars. 

The  oldest  commentary  in  existence  on  the  Mimamsd 
Sutras  is  the  bhdshya  of  (^abara  Svamin,  which  in  its  turn 
was  commented  on  about  700  A.D.  by  the  great  Mlmam- 
sist  Kumarila  in  his  Tantra-vdrttika  and  in  his  £loka- 
vdrttika,  the  latter  a  metrical  paraphrase  of  (Jabara's 
exposition  of  the  first  aphorism  of  Patanjali.  Among 
the  later  commentaries  on  the  Mimamsd  Sutras  the  most 
important  is  the  J raiminlya-nydya-mdld-vistara  of  Madhava 
(fourteenth  century). 

Far  more  deserving  of  attention  is  the  theoretical 
system  of  the  Uttara-mlmdmsdy  or  u  Second  Inquiry." 
For  it  not  only-systematises  the  doctrines  of  the  Upani- 
shads — therefore  usually  termed  Veddnta,  or  "  End  of 
the  Veda " — but  also  represents  the  philosophical  views 
of  the  Indian  thinkers  of  to-day.  In  the  words  of 
Professor  Deussen,  its  relation  to  the  earlier  Upani- 
shads  resembles  that  of  Christian  dogmatics  to  the  New 
Testament.  Its  fundamental  doctrine,  expressed  in  the 
famous  formula  tat  tvam  asz,  "  thou  art  that,"  is  the 
identity  of  the  individual  soul  with  God  (brahma). 
Hence  it  is  also  called  the  Brahma-  or  £driraka-mim- 
dmsdy  "  Inquiry  concerning  Brahma  or  the  embodied 
soul."  The  eternal  and  infinite  Brahma  not  being  made 
up  of  parts  or  liable  to  change,  the  individual  soul, 
it  is  here  laid  down,  cannot  be  a  part  or  emanation 
of  it,  but  is  the  whole  indivisible  Brahma.  As  there 
is  no  other  existence  but  Brahma,  the  Vedanta  is  styled 


the  advaita-vdda,  or  "doctrine  of  non-duality/'  being, 
in  other  words,  an  idealistic  monism.  The  evidence  of 
experience,  which  shows  a  multiplicity  of  phenomena, 
and  the  statements  of  the  Veda,  which  teach  a  multi- 
plicity of  souls,  are  brushed  aside  as  the  phantasms  of 
a  dream  which  are  only  true  till  waking  takes  place. 

The  ultimate  cause  of  all  such  false  impressions  is 
avidyd  or  innate  ignorance,  which  this,  like  the  other 
systems,  simply  postulates,  but  does  not  in  any  way 
seek  to  account  for.  It  is  this  ignorance  which  prevents 
the  soul  from  recognising  that  the  empirical  world  is 
mere  mdyd  or  illusion.  Thus  to  the  Vedantist  the  uni- 
verse is  like  a  mirage,  which  the  soul  under  the  influence 
of  desire  {trishnd  or  "  thirst ")  'fancies  it  perceives,  just 
as  the  panting  hart  sees  before  it  sheets  of  water  in 
the  fata  morgana  (picturesquely  called  mriga-trishnd  or 
"deer-thirst"  in  Sanskrit).  The  illusion  vanishes  as  if 
by  magic,  when  the  scales  fall  from  the  eyes,  on  the 
acquisition  of  true  knowledge.  Then  the  semblance  of 
any  distinction  between  the  soul  and  God  disappears, 
and  salvation  (inoksha),  the  chief  end  of  man,  is  attained. 

Saving  knowledge  cannot  of  course  be  acquired  by 
worldly  experience,  but  is  revealed  in  the  theoretical 
part  (jndna-kdnda)  of  the  Vedas,  that  is  to  say,  in  the 
Upanishads.  By  this  correct  knowledge  the  illusion 
of  the  multiplicity  of  phenomena  is  dispelled,  just  as 
the  illusion  of  a  snake  when  there  is  only  a  rope. 
Two  forms  of  knowledge  are,  however,  distinguished  in 
the  Vedanta,  a  higher  {para)  and  a  lower  (apard).  The 
former  is  concerned  with  the  higher  and  impersonal 
Brahma  (neuter),  which  is  without  form  or  attributes, 
while  the  latter  deals  with  the  lower  and  personal  Brahma 
(masculine),  who  is  the  soul  of  the  universe,  the  Lord 


(i$vara)  who  has  created  the  world  and  grants  salvation. 
The  contradiction  resulting  from  one  and  the  same 
thing  having  form  and  no  form,  attributes  and  no  attri- 
butes, is  solved  by  the  explanation  that  the  lower 
Brahma  has  no  reality,  but  is  merely  an  illusory  form 
of  the  higher  and  only  Brahma,  produced  by  ignorance. 

The  doctrines  of  the  Vedanta  are  laid  down  in  the 
Brahma-sutras  of  Badarayana.  This  text -book,  the 
meaning  of  which  is  not  intelligible  without  the  aid  of 
a  commentary,  was  expounded  in  his  bhdshya  by  the 
famous  Vedantist  philosopher  (^ANKARA,  whose  name 
is  intimately  connected  with  the  revival  of  Brahmanism. 
He  was  born  in  788  A.D.,  became  an  ascetic  in  820, 
and  probably  lived  to  an  advanced  age.  There  is 
every  likelihood  that  his  expositions  agree  in  all  essentials 
with  the  meaning  of  the  Brahma-sutras.  The  full  ela- 
boration of  the  doctrine  of  Maya,  or  cosmic  illusion, 
is,  however,  due  to  him.  An  excellent  epitome  of  the 
teachings  of  the  Vedanta,  as  set  forth  by  Cankara,  is 
the  Vedanta-sara  of  Sadananda  Yoglndra.  Its  author 
departs  from  (Jankara's  views  only  in  a  few  particulars, 
which  show  an  admixture  of  Sankhya  doctrine. 

Among  the  many  commentaries  on  the  Brahma- 
sutras  subsequent  to  (Jankara,  the  most  important  is 
that  of  Ramanuja,  who  lived  in  the  earlier  half  of  the 
twelfth  century.  This  writer  gives  expression  to  the 
views  of  the  Pancharatras  or  Bhagavatas,  an  old  Vish- 
nuite  sect,  whose  doctrine,  closely  allied  to  Christian 
ideas,  is  expounded  in  the  Bhagavadglta  and  the  Bhdga- 
vata-purdna,  as  well  as  in  the  special  text-books  of  the 
sect.  The  tenets  of  the  Bhagavatas,  as  set  forth  by  Rama- 
nuja, diverge  considerably  from  those  of  the  Brahma- 
sutras  on   which   he   is   commenting.      For,  according 


to  him,  individual  souls  are  not  identical  with  God ; 
they  suffer  from  innate  unbelief,  not  ignorance,  while 
belief  or  the  love  of  God  (bhakti),  not  knowledge,  is  the 
means  of  salvation  or  union  with  God. 

The  last  two  orthodox  systems  of  philosophy,  the 
Vaiceshika  and  the  Nyaya,  form  a  closely-connected 
pair,  since  a  strict  classification  of  ideas,  as  well  as  the 
explanation  of  the  origin  of  the  world  from  atoms,  is 
cHmmon  to  both.  Much  the  older  of  the  two  is  the 
Vaiceshika,  which  is  already  assailed  in  the  Brahma- 
sutras.  It  is  there  described  as  undeserving  of  attention, 
because  it  had  no  adherents.  This  was  certainly  not 
the  case  in  later  times,  when  this  system  became  very 
popular.  It  received  its  name  from  the  category  of 
"particularity"  (yiqeshd)  on  which  great  stress  is  laid 
in  its  theory  of  atoms.  The  memory  of  its  founder  is 
only  preserved  in  his  nickname  Kanada  (also  Kanabhuj 
or  Kana-bhaksha),  which  means  "  atom-eater." 

The  main  importance  of  the  system  lies  in  the  logical 
categories  which  it  set  up  and  under  which  it  classed 
all  phenomena.  The  six  which  it  originally  set  up  are 
substance,  quality,  motion,  generality,  particularity,  and 
inherence.  They  are  rigorously  defined  and  further 
subdivided.  The  most  interesting  is  that  of  inherence  or 
inseparable  connection  (samavdya),  which,  being  clearly 
distinguished  from  that  of  accident  or  separable  con- 
nection (samyogd),  is  described  as  the  relation  between 
a  thing  and  its  properties,  the  whole  and  its  parts,  genus 
and  species,  motion  and  the  object  in  motion.  Later 
was  added  a  seventh,  that  of  non-existence  (abhdva), 
which,  by  affording  special  facilities  for  the  display  of 
subtlety,  has  had  a  momentous  influence  on  Indian 
logic.     This  category  was  further  subdivided  into  prior 


and  posterior  non-existence  (which  we  should  respec- 
tively call  future  and  past  existence),  mutual  non- 
existence (as  between  a  jar  and  cloth),  and  absolute 
non-existence  (as  fire  in  water). 

Though  largely  concerned  with  these  categories,  the 
Vaiceshika  system  aimed  at  attaining  a  comprehensive 
philosophic  view  in  connection  with  them.  Thus  while 
dealing  with  the  category  of  "substance,"  it  develops 
its  theory  of  the  origin  of  the  world  from  atoms.  The 
consideration  of  the  category  of  "quality"  similarly 
leads  to  its  treatment  of  psychology,  which  is  remark- 
able and  has  analogies  with  that  of  the  Sankhya.  Soul 
is  here  regarded  as  without  beginning  or  end,  and  all- 
pervading,  subject  to  the  limitations  of  neither  time  nor 
space.  Intimately  connected  with  soul  is  "mind" 
(inanas),  the  internal  organ  of  thought,  which  alone 
enables  the  soul  to  know  not  only  external  objects  but 
its  own  qualities.  As  this  organ  is,  in  contrast  with 
soul,  an  atom,  it  can  only  comprehend  a  single  object 
at  any  given  moment.  This  is  the  explanation  why  the 
soul  cannot  be  conscious  of  all  objects  simultaneously. 

The  Nyaya  system  is  only  a  development  and  com- 
plement of  that  of  Kanada,  its  metaphysics  and  psy- 
chology being  the  same.  Its  specific  character  consists 
in  its  being  a  very  detailed  and  acute  exposition  of 
formal  logic.  As  such  it  has  remained  the  foundation 
of  philosophical  studies  in  India  down  to  the  present 
day.  Besides  dealing  fully  with  the  means  of  knowledge, 
which  it  states  to  be  perception,  inference,  analogy,  and 
trustworthy  evidence,  it  treats  exhaustively  of  syllogisms 
and  fallacies.  It  is  interesting  to  note  that  the  Indian 
mind  here  independently  arrived  at  an  exposition  of  the 
syllogism   as   the   form   of   deductive   reasoning.      The 


text-book  of  this  system  is  the  Nydya-siUra  of  Gotama. 
The  importance  here  attached  to  logic  appears  from  the 
very  first  aphorism,  which  enumerates  sixteen  logical 
notions  with  the  remark  that  salvation  depends  on  a 
correct  knowledge  of  their  nature. 

Neither  the  Vaiqeshika  nor  the  Nydya-siitras  ori- 
ginally accepted  the  existence  of  God  ;  and  though  both 
schools  later  became  theistic,  they  never  went  so  far 
as  to  assume  a  creator  of  matter.  Their  theology  is 
first  found  developed  in  Udayanacharya's  Kusumdnjali, 
which  was  written  about  1200  A.D.,  and  in  works  which 
deal  with  the  two  systems  conjointly.  Here  God  is 
regarded  as  a  "special"  soul,  which  differs  from  all 
other  individual  eternal  souls  by  exemption  from  all 
qualities  connected  with  transmigration,  and  by  the 
possession  of  the  power  and  knowledge  qualifying  him 
to  be  a  regulator  of  the  universe. 

Of  the  eclectic  movement  combining  Sankhya,  Yoga, 
and  Vedanta  doctrines,  the  oldest  literary  representative 
is  the  Qvetdgvatara  Upanishad.  More  famous  is  the 
Bhagavadgitdy  in  which  the  Supreme  Being  incarnate  as 
Krishna  expounds  to  Arjuna  his  doctrines  in  this  sense. 
The  burden  of  his  teaching  is  that  the  zealous  perform- 
ance of  his  duty  is  a  man's  most  important  task,  to  what- 
ever caste  he  may  belong.  The  beauty  and  the  power 
of  the  language  in  which  this  doctrine  is  inculcated,  is 
unsurpassed  in  any  other  work  of  Indian  literature. 

By  the  side  of  the  orthodox  systems  and  the  two  non- 
Brahmanical  religions,  flourished  the  lokdyata  ("  directed 
to  the  world  of  sense "),  or  materialistic  school,  usually 
called  that  of  the  Charvakas  from  the  name  of  the 
founder  of  the  doctrine.  It  was  regarded  as  peculiarly 
heretical,  for  it  not  only  rejected  the  authority  of  the 


Vedas  and  Brahmanic  ceremonial,  but  denied  the  doc- 
trines of  transmigration  and  salvation  accepted  by  all 
other  systems.  Materialistic  teachings  may  be  traced 
even  before  the  time  of  Buddha,  and  they  have  had  many 
secret  followers  in  India  down  to  the  present  day.  The 
system,  however,  seems  never  to  have  had  more  than 
one  text-book,  the  lost  Sutras  of  Brihaspati,  its  mythical 
founder.  Our  knowledge  of  it  is  derived  partly  from  the 
polemics  of  other  schools,  but  especially  from  the  Sarva- 
dar^ana-samgraha,  or  "  Compendium  of  all  the  Philoso- 
phical Systems,"  composed  in  the  fourteenth  century  by 
the  well-known  Vedantist  Madhavacharya,  brother  of 
Sayana.  The  strong  scepticism  of  the  Charvakas  showed 
itself  in  the  rejection  of  all  the  means  of  knowledge 
accepted  by  other  schools,  excepting  perception.  To 
them  matter  was  the  only  realitVj  Soul  they  regarded  as 
nothing  but  the  body  with  the  attribute  of  intelligence. 
They  held  it  to  be  created  when  the  body  is  formed  by 
the  combination  of  elements,  just  as  the  power  of  intoxi- 
cation arises  from  the  mixture  of  certain  ingredients. 
Hence  with  the  annihilation  of  the  body  the  soul  also  is 
annihilated.  Not  transmigration,  they  affirm,  but  the 
true  nature  of  things,  is  the  cause  from  which  phenomena 
proceed.  The  existence  of  all  that  transcends  the  senses 
they  deny,  sometimes  with  an  admixture  of  irony.  Thus 
the  highest  being,  they  say,  is  the  king  of  the  land,  whose 
existence  is  proved  by  the  perception  of  the  whole  world  ; 
hell  is  earthly  pain  produced  by  earthly  causes ;  and 
salvation  is  the  dissolution  of  the  body.  Even  in  the 
attribution  of  their  text-book  to  Brihaspati,  the  name  of 
the  preceptor  of  the  gods,  a  touch  of  irony  is  to  be  de- 
tected. The  religion  of  the  Brahmans  receives  a  severe 
handling.     The  Vedas,  say  the  Charvakas,  are  only  the 


incoherent  rhapsodies  of  knaves,  and  are  tainted  with  the 
three  blemishes  of  falsehood,  self-contradiction,  and  tauto- 
logy ;  Vedic  teachers  are  impostors,  whose  doctrines  are 
mutually  destructive  ;  and  the  ritual  of  the  Brahmans  is 
useful  only  as  a  means  of  livelihood.  "  If,"  they  ask,  "an 
animal  sacrificed  reaches  heaven,  why  does  the  sacrificer 
not  rather  offer  his  own  father  ?  " 

On  the  moral  side  the  system  is  pure  hedonism. 
For  the  only  end  of  man  is  here  stated  to  be  sensual 
pleasure,  which  is  to  be  enjoyed  by  neglecting  as  far  as 
possible  the  pains  connected  with  it,  just  as  a  man  who 
desires  fish  takes  the  scales  and  bones  into  the  bargain. 
"  While  life  remains,  let  a  man  live  happily,  let  him  feed 
on  ghee  even  though  he  run  into  debt ;  when  once  the 
body  becomes  ashes,  how  can  it  ever  return  again  ?  " 

The  author  of  the  Sarvadarqana-samgrahay  placing 
himself  with  remarkable  mental  detachment  in  the  posi- 
tion of  an  adherent  in  each  case,  describes  altogether 
sixteen  systems.  The  six  which  have  not  been  sketched 
above,  besides  being  of  little  importance,  are  not  purely 
philosophic.  Five  of  these  are  sectarian,  one  Vishnuite 
and  four  Civite,  all  of  them  being  strongly  tinctured 
with  Sankhya  and  Vedanta  doctrines.  The  sixth,  the 
system  of  Panini,  is  classed  by  Madhava  among  the 
philosophies,  simply  because  the  Indian  grammarians 
accepted  the  Mlmamsa,  dogma  of  the  eternity  of  sound, 
and  philosophically  developed  the  Yoga  theory  of  the 
sphuta,  or  the  imperceptible  and  eternal  element  inherent 
in  every  word  as  the  vehicle  of  its  sense. 




Want  of  space  makes  it  impossible  for  me  to  give  even 
the  briefest  account  of  the  numerous  and,  in  many  cases, 
important  legal  and  scientific  works  written  in  Sanskrit. 
But  I  cannot  conclude  this  survey  of  Sanskrit  literature 
as  an  embodiment  of  Indian  culture  without  sketching 
rapidly  the  influence  which  it  has  received  from  and 
exercised  upon  the  nations  of  the  West.  An  adequate 
treatment  of  this  highly  interesting  theme  cou4d  only  be 
presented  in  a  special  volume. 

The  oldest  trace  of  contact  between  the  Indians  and 
the  peoples  of  the  West  is  to  be  found  in  the  history  of 
Indian  writing,  which,  as  we  have  already  seen  (p.  16) 
was  derived  from  a  Semitic  source,  probably  as  early  as 
800  B.C. 

The  Aryans  having  conquered  Hindustan  in  pre- 
historic times,  began  themselves  to  fall  under  foreign 
domination  from  an  early  period.  The  extreme  north- 
west became  subject  to  Persian  sway  from  about  500  to 
331  B.C.  under  the  Achaemenid  dynasty.  Cyrus  the  First 
made  tributary  the  Indian  tribes  of  the  Gandharas  and 
Acvakas.  The  old  Persian  inscriptions  of  Behistun  and 
Persepolis  show  that  his  successor,  Darius  Hystaspis,  ruled 
over  not  only  the  Gandharians,  but  also  the  people  of  the 
Indus.     Herodotus   also   states   that   this   monarch  had 

subjected  the  "  Northern  Indians."     At  the  command  of 



the  same  Darius,  a  Greek  named  Skylax  is  said  to  have 
travelled  in  India,  and  to  have  navigated  the  Indus  in 
509  B.C.  From  his  account  various  Greek  writers,  among 
them  Herodotus,  derived  their  information  about  India. 
In  the  army  which  Xerxes  led  against  Greece  in  480  B.C. 
there  were  divisions  of  Gandharians  and  Indians,  whose 
dress  and  equipment  are  described  by  Herodotus.  That 
historian  also  makes  the  statement  that  the  satrapy  of 
India  furnished  the  heaviest  tribute  in  the  Persian  empire, 
adding  that  the  gold  with  which  it  was  paid  was  brought 
from  a  desert  in  the  east,  where  it  was  dug  up  by  ants 
larger  than  foxes. 

At  the  beginning  of  the  fourth  century  B.C.,  the  Greek 
physician  Ktesias,  who  resided  at  the  court  of  Artaxerxes 
II.,  learnt  much  from  the  Persians  about  India,  and  was 
personally  acquainted  with  wise  Indians.  Little  useful 
information  can,  however,  be  derived  from  the  account 
of  India  which  he  wrote  after  his  return  in  398  B.C.,  as  it 
has  been  very  imperfectly  preserved,  and  his  reputation 
for  veracity  did  not  stand  high  among  his  countrymen. 

The  destruction  of  the  Persian  empire  by  Alexander 
the  Great  led  to  a  new  invasion  of  India,  which  fixes  the 
first  absolutely  certain  date  in  Indian  history.  In  327  B.C. 
Alexander  passed  over  the  Hindu  Kush  with  an  army  of 
120,000  infantry  and  30,000  cavalry.  After  taking  the 
town  of  PushkalavatI  (the  Greek  Peukelaotis)  at  the 
confluence  of  the  Kabul  and  Indus,  and  subduing  the 
Acvakas  (variously  called  Assakanoi,  Aspasioi,  Hippasioi, 
by  Greek  writers)  on  the  north  and  the  Gandharas  on  the 
south  of  the  Kabul  River,  he  crossed  the  Indus  early  in 
326.  At  Takshacila(Greek  Taxiles),  between  the  Indus  and 
the  Jhelum  (Hydaspes),  the  Greeks  for  the  first  time  saw 
Brahman  Yogis,  or  "  the  wise  men  of  the  Indians,"  as 


they  called  them,  and  were  astonished  at  their  asceticism 
and  strange  doctrines. 

Between  the  Jhelum  and  the  Chenab  (Akesines)  lay 
the  kingdom  of  the  Pauravas  or  Pauras,  whose  prince, 
called  Porus  by  the  Greeks  from  the  name  of  his  people, 
led  out  an  army  of  50,000  infantry,  4000  cavalry,  200 
elephants,  and  400  chariots  to  check  the  advance  of  the 
invader.  Then  on  the  banks  of.  the  Jhelum  was  fought 
the  great  historic  battle,  in  which  Alexander,  after  a  severe 
struggle,  finally  won  the  day  by  superior  numbers  and 
force  of  genius.  He  continued  his  victorious  march 
eastwards  till  he  reached  the  Sutlej  (Greek  Zadadres). 
But  here  his  further  progress  towards  the  Ganges  was 
arrested  by  the  opposition  of  his  Macedonians,  intimidated 
by  the  accounts  they  heard  of  the  great  power  of  the 
king  of  the  Prasioi  (Sanskrit  Prachyas,  or  "  Easterns  "). 
Hence,  after  appointing  satraps  of  the  Panjab  and  of 
Sindh,  he  sailed  down  to  the  mouths  of  the  Indus  and 
returned  to  Persia  by  Gedrosia.  Of  the  writings  of  those 
who  accompanied  Alexander,  nothing  has  been  preserved 
except  statements  from  them  in  later  authors. 

After  Alexander's  death  the  assassination  of  the  old 
king  Porus  by  Eudemus,  the  satrap  of  the  Panjab,  led 
to  a  rebellion  in  which  the  Indians  cast  off  the  Greek 
yoke  under  the  leadership  of  a  young  adventurer  named 
Chandragupta  (the  Sandrakottos  or  Sandrokyptos  of  the 
Greeks).  Having  gained  possession  of  the  Indus  territory 
in  317,  and  dethroned  the  king  of  Pataliputra  in  315  B.C., 
he  became  master  of  the  whole  Ganges  Valley  as  well. 
The  Maurya  dynasty,  which  he  thus  founded,  lasted  for 
137  years  (315-178  B.C.).  His  empire  was  the  largest 
hitherto  known  in  India,  as  it  embraced  the  whole 
territory  between  the  Himalaya  and  the  Vindhya  from 


the    mouths    of    the    Ganges    to    the   Indus,  including 

Seleucus,  who  had  founded  a  kingdom  in  Media  and 
Persia,  feeling  himself  unable  to  vanquish  Chandragupta, 
sent  a  Greek  named  Megasthenes  to  reside  at  his  court  at 
Pataliputfa.  This  ambassador  thus  lived  for  several  years 
in  the  heart  of  India  between  311  and  302  B.C.,  and  wrote 
a  work  entitled  Ta  Indika,  which  is  particularly  valuable 
as  the  earliest  direct  record  of  his  visit  by  a  foreigner  who 
knew  the  country  himself.  Megasthenes  furnishes  par- 
ticulars about  the  strength  of  Chandragupta's  army  and 
the  administration  of  the  state.  He  mentions  forest 
ascetics  {Hylobioi),  and  distinguishes  Brachmdnes  and 
Sarmanai  as  two  classes  of  philosophers,  meaning,  doubt- 
less, Brahmans  and  Buddhists  (gramanas).  He  tells  us 
that  the  Indians  worshipped  the  rain-bringing  Zeus 
(Indra)  as  well  as  the  Ganges,  which  must,  therefore, 
have  already  been  a  sacred  river.  By  his  description  of 
the  god  Dionysus,  whom  they  worshipped  in  the  moun- 
tains, (Jiva  must  be  intended,  and  by  Herakles,  adored 
in  the  plains,  especially  among  the  (Jurasenas  on  the 
Yamuna  and  in  the  city  of  Methora,  no  other  can  be 
meant  than  Vishnu  and  his  incarnation  Krishna,  the 
chief  city  of  whose  tribe  of  Yadavas  was  Mathura 
(Muttra).  These  statements  seem  to  justify  the  conclu- 
sion that  (Jiva  and  Vishnu  were  already  prominent  as 
highest  gods,  the  former  in  the  mountains,  the  latter  in 
the  Ganges  Valley.  Krishna  would  also  seem  to  have  been 
regarded  as  an  Avatar  of  Vishnu,  though  it  is  to  be  noted 
that  Krishna  is  not  yet  mentioned  in  the  old  Buddhist 
Sutras.  We  also  learn  from  Megasthenes  that  the  doc- 
trine of  the  four  ages  of  the  world  (yugas)  was  fully 
developed  in  India  by  his  time. 


Chandragupta's  grandson,  the  famous  Acoka,  not  only 
maintained  his  national  Indian  empire,  but  extended  it  in 
every  direction.  Having  adopted  Buddhism  as  the  state 
religion,  he  did  much  to  spread  its  doctrines,  especially 
to  Ceylon,  which  since  then  has  remained  the  most 
faithful  guardian  of  Buddhist  tradition. 

After  Acoka's  death  the  Graeco-Bactrian  princes  began 
about  200  B.C.  to  conquer  Western  India,  and  ruled 
there  for  about  eighty  years.  Euthydemos  extended  his 
dominions  to  the  Jhelum.  His  son  Demetrios  (early  in  the 
second  century  B.C.)  appears  to  have  held  sway  over  the 
Lower  Indus,  Malava, Gujarat,  and  probably  also  Kashmir. 
He  is  called  "  King  of  the  Indians,"  and  was  the  first  to 
introduce  a  bilingual  coinage  by  adding  an  Indian  inscrip- 
tion in  Kharoshthl  characters  on  the  reverse  to  the  Greek 
on  the  obverse.  Eukratides  (190-160  B.C.),  who  rebelled 
against  Demetrios,  subjected  the  Pan  jab  as  far  east  as 
the  Beas.  After  the  reign  of  Heliokles  (160-120  B.C.), 
the  Greek  princes  in  India  ceased  to  be  connected  with 
Bactria.  The  most  prominent  among  these  Grseco- 
Indians  was  Menander  (c.  150  B.C.),  who,  under  the  name 
of  Milinda,  is  well  known  in  Buddhist  writings.  The  last 
vestige  of  Greek  domination  in  India  disappeared  about 
20  B.C.,  having  lasted  nearly  two  centuries.  It  is  a  re- 
markable fact  that  no  Greek  monumental  inscriptions 
have  ever  been  found  in  India. 

With  the  beginning  of  the  Graeco-Indian  period  also 
commenced  the  incursions  of  the  Scythic  tribes,  who  are 
called  Indo-Scythians  by  the  Greeks,  and  by  the  Indians 
^akas,  the  Persian  designation  of  Scythians  in  general. 
Of  these  so-called  Scythians  the  Jats  of  the  Panjab  are 
supposed  to  be  the  descendants.  The  rule  of  these  (Jaka 
kings,  the  earliest  of  whom  is  Maues  or  Moa  (c.  120  B.C.), 


endured  down  to  178  A.D.,  or  about  three  centuries. 
Their  memory  is  preserved  in  India  by  the  (Jaka  era, 
which  is  still  in  use,  and  dates  from  78  A.D.,  the 
inaugural  year  of  Kanishka,  the  only  famous  king  of 
this  race.  His  dominions,  which  included  Kanyakubja 
(Kanauj)  on  the  Ganges,  extended  beyond  the  confines 
of  India  to  parts  of  Central  Asia.  A  zealous  adherent  of 
Buddhism,  he  made  Gandhara  and  Kashmir  the  chief 
seat  of  that  religion,  and  held  the  fourth  Buddhist 
council  in  the  latter  country. 

About  20  B.C.  the  (^akas  were  followed  into  India  by 
the  Kushanas,  who  were  one  of  the  five  tribes  of  the 
Yueh-chi  from  Central  Asia,  and  who  subsequently  con- 
quered the  whole  of  Northern  India. 

After  having  been  again  united  into  a  single  empire 
almost  as  great  as  that  of  Chandragupta  under  the 
national  dynasty  of  the  Guptas,  from  319  to  480  A.D., 
Northern  India,  partly  owing  to  the  attacks  of  the 
Hunas,  was  split  up  into  several  kingdoms,  some  under 
the  later  Guptas,  till  606  A.D.,  when  Harshavardhana 
of  Kanauj  gained  paramount  power  over  the  whole  of 
Northern  India.  During  his  reign  the  poet  Bana  flour- 
ished, and  the  celebrated  Chinese  pilgrim  Hiouen  Thsang 
visited  India. 

With  the  Muhammadan  conquest  about  1000  A.D. 
the  country  again  fell  under  a  foreign  yoke.  As  after 
Alexander's  invasion,  we  have  the  good  fortune  to  pos- 
sess in  Alberunl's  India  (c.  1030  A.D.)  the  valuable  work 
of  a  cultivated  foreigner,  giving  a  detailed  account  of  the 
civilisation  of  India  at  this  new  era  in  its  history. 

This  repeated  contact  of  the  Indians  with  foreign  in- 
vaders from  the  West  naturally  led  to  mutual  influences 
in  various  branches  of  literature. 


With  regard  to  the  Epics,  we  find  the  statement  of 
the  Greek  rhetorician  Dio  Chrysostomos  (50-117  A.D.) 
that  the  Indians  sang  in  their  own  language  the  poetry 
of  Homer,  the  sorrows  of  Priam,  the  laments  of  Andro- 
mache and  Hecuba,  the  valour  of  Achilles  and  Hector. 
The  similarity  of  some  of  the  leading  characters  of  the 
Mahdbhdrata,  to  which  the  Greek  writer  evidently  alludes, 
caused  him  to  suppose  that  the  Indian  epic  was  a  trans- 
lation of  the  Iliad.  There  is,  however,  no  connection  of 
of  any  kind  between  the  two  poems.  Nor  does  Professor 
Weber's  assumption  of  Greek  influence  on  the  Rdmd- 
yana  appear  to  have  any  sufficient  basis  (p.  307). 

The  view  has  been  held  that  the  worship  of  Krishna, 
who,  as  we  have  seen,  plays  an  important  part  in  the 
Mahdbhdrata,  arose  under  the  influence  of  Christianity, 
with  which  it  certainly  has  some  rather  striking  points 
of  resemblance.  This  theory  is,  however,  rendered  im- 
probable, at  least  as  far  as  the  origin  of  the  cult  of 
Krishna  is  concerned,  by  the  conclusions  at  which  we 
have  arrived  regarding  the  age  of  the  Mahdbhdrata  (pp. 
286-287),  as  well  as  by  the  statements  of  Megasthenes, 
which  indicate  that  Krishna  was  deified  and  worshipped 
some  centuries  before  the  beginning  of  our  era.  We 
know,  moreover,  from  the  Mahdbhdshya  that  the  story  of 
Krishna  was  the  subject  of  dramatic  representations  in 
the  second  or,  at  latest,  the  first  century  before  the  birth 
of  Christ. 

It  is  an  interesting  question  whether  the  Indian  drama 
has  any  genetic  connection  with  that  of  Greece.  It 
must  be  admitted  that  opportunities  for  such  a  con- 
nection may  have  existed  during  the  first  three  centuries 
preceding  our  era.  On  his  expedition  to  India,  Alex- 
ander  was   accompanied   by    numerous   artists,    among 


whom  there  may  have  been  actors.  Seleucus  gave  his 
daughter  in  marriage  to  Chandragupta,  and  both  that 
ruler  and  Ptolemy  II.  maintained  relations  with  the 
court  of  Pataliputra  by  means  of  ambassadors.  Greek 
dynasties  ruled  in  Western  India  for  nearly  two  centuries. 
Alexandria  was  connected  by  a  lively  commerce  with 
the  town  called  by  the  Greeks  Barygaza  (now  Broach), 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Narmada  (Nerbudda)  in  Gujarat ; 
with  the  latter  town  was  united  by  a  trade  route  the  city 
of  UjjayinI  (Greek  Ozene),  which  in  consequence  reached 
a  high  pitch  of  prosperity.  Philostratus  (second  century 
A.D.),  not  it  is  true  a  very  trustworthy  authority,  states 
in  his  Life  of  Apollonius  of  Tyana,  who  visited  India 
about  50  A.D.,  that  Greek  literature  was  held  in  high 
esteem  by  the  Brahmans.  Indian  inscriptions  mention 
Yavana  or  Greek  girls  sent  to  India  as  tribute,  and 
Sanskrit  authors,  especially  Kalidasa,  describe  Indian 
princes  as  waited  on  by  them.  Professor  Weber  has 
even  conjectured  that  the  Indian  god  of  love,  Kama, 
bears  a  dolphin  {inakard)  in  his  banner,  like  the  Greek 
Eros,  through  the  influence  of  Greek  courtesans. 

The  existence  of  such  conditions  has  induced  Pro- 
fessor Weber  to  believe  that  the  representations  of 
Greek  plays,  which  must  have  taken  place  at  the  courts 
of  Greek  princes  in  Bactria,  in  the  Panjab,  and  in  Gujarat, 
suggested  the  drama  to  the  Indians  as  a  subject  for  imi- 
tation. This  theory  is  supported  by  the  fact  that  the 
curtain  of  the  Indian  stage  is  called  yavanikd  or  the 
"  Greek  partition."  Weber  at  the  same  time  admits  that 
there  is  no  internal  connection  between  the  Indian  and 
the  Greek  drama. 

Professor  Windisch,  however,  went  further,  and  main- 
tained such  internal  connection.     It  was,  indeed,  impos- 


sible  for  him  to  point  out  any  affinity  to  the  Greek 
tragedy,  but  he  thought  he  could  trace  in  the  Mriccha- 
katika  the  influence  of  the  new  Attic  comedy,  which 
reached  its  zenith  with  Menander  about  300  B.C.  The 
points  in  which  that  play  resembles  this  later  Greek 
comedy  are  fewer  and  slighter  in  other  Sanskrit  dramas, 
and  can  easily  be  explained  as  independently  developed 
in  India.  The  improbability  of  the  theory  is  emphasised 
by  the  still  greater  affinity  of  the  Indian  drama  to  that 
of  Shakespeare.  It  is  doubtful  whether  Greek  plays 
were  ever  actually  performed  in  India ;  at  any  rate,  no 
references  to  such  performances  have  been  preserved. 
The  earliest  Sanskrit  plays  extant  are,  moreover,  sepa- 
rated from  the  Greek  period  by  at  least  four  hundred 
years.  The  Indian  drama  has  had  a  thoroughly  national 
development,  and  even  its  origin,  though  obscure,  easily 
admits  of  an  indigenous  explanation.  The  name  of  the 
curtain,  yavanikd,  may,  indeed,  be  a  reminiscence  ot 
Greek  plays  actually  seen  in  India  ;  but  it  is  uncertain 
whether  the  Greek  theatre  had  a  curtain  at  all ;  in  any 
case,  it  did  not  form  the  background  of  the  stage. 

It  is  a  fact  worth  noting,  that  the  beginning  of  one 
of  the  most  famous  of  modern  European  dramas  has 
been  modelled  on  that  of  a  celebrated  Sanskrit  play. 
The  prelude  of  ^akuntald  suggested  to  Goethe  the  plan 
of  the  prologue  on  the  stage  in  Faust,  where  the  stage- 
manager,  the  merryandrew,  and  the  poet  converse 
regarding  the  play  about  to  be  performed  (cf.  p.  351). 
Forster's  German  translation  of  Kalidasa's  masterpiece 
appeared  in  1791,  and  the  profound  impression  it  pro- 
duced on  Goethe  is  proved  by  the  well-known  epigram 
he  composed  on  ^akuntald  in  the  same  year.  The  im- 
pression was  a    lasting    one ;  for   the   theatre  prologue 


of  Faust  was  not  written  till  1797,  and  as  late  as  1830 
the  poet  thought  of  adapting  the  Indian  play  for  the 
Weimar  stage. 

If  in  epic  and  dramatic  poetry  hardly  any  definite 
influences  can  be  traced  between  India  and  the  West, 
how  different  is  the  case  in  the  domain  of  fables  and 
fairy  tales  \  The  story  of  the  migration  of  these  from 
India  certainly  forms  the  most  romantic  chapter  in  the 
literary  history  of  the  world. 

We  know  that  in  the  sixth  century  A.D.  there  existed 
in  India  a  Buddhist  collection  of  fables,  in  which  ani- 
mals play  the  part  of  human  beings  (cf.  p.  369).  By  the 
command  of  the  Sassanian  king,  Khosru  Anushlrvan 
(531-579),  this  work  was  translated  by  a  Persian 
physician  named  Barzoi  into  Pehlevi.  Both  this  ver- 
sion and  the  unmodified  original  have  been  lost,  but  two 
early  and  notable  translations  from  the  Pehlevi  have 
been  preserved.  The  Syriac  one  was  made  about  570 
A.D.,  and  called  Kalilag  and  Damnag.  A  manuscript  of 
it  was  found  by  chance  in  1870,  and,  becoming  known 
to  scholars  by  a  wonderful  chapter  of  lucky  accidents, 
was  published  in  1876.  The  Arabic  translation  from 
the  Pehlevi,  entitled  Kalllah  and  Dimnah,  or  "  Fables  of 
Pilpay,"  was  made  in  the  eighth  century  by  a  Persian 
convert  to  Islam,  who  died  about  760  A.D.  In  this  trans- 
lation a  wicked  king  is  represented  to  be  reclaimed  to 
virtue  by  a  Brahman  philosopher  named  Bidbah,  a  word 
which  has  been  satisfactorily  traced  through  Pehlevi 
to  the  Sanskrit  vidyapati,  "  master  of  sciences,"  "  chief 
scholar."  From  this  bidbah  is  derived  the  modern 
Bidpai  or  Pilpay,  which  is  thus  not  a  proper  name 
at  all. 

This  Arabic  version  is  of   great  importance,  as  the 


source  of  other  versions  which  exercised  very  great 
influence  in  shaping  the  literature  of  the  Middle  Ages 
in  Europe.  These  versions  of  it  were  the  later  Syriac 
(c.  iooo  A.D.),  the  Greek  (1180),  the  Persian  (c.  1130), 
recast  later  (c.  1494)  under  the  title  of  Anvdr-i-Suhaili, 
or  "Lights  of  Canopus,"  the  old  Spanish  (1251),  and  the 
Hebrew  one  made  about  1250. 

The  fourth  stratum  of  translation  is  represented  by 
John  of  Capua's  rendering  of  the  Hebrew  version  into 
Latin  [c.  1270),  entitled  Dii'ectorium  Humance  Vitcey  which 
was  printed  about  1480. 

From  John  of  Capua's  work  was  made,  at  the  in- 
stance of  Duke  Eberhardt  of  Wurtemberg,  the  famous 
German  version,  Das  Buck  der  Byspel  der  alten  Wysen,  or 
"  Book  of  Apologues  of  the  Ancient  Sages,"  first  printed 
about  1481.  The  fact  that  four  dated  editions  appeared 
at  Ulm  between  1483  and  1485,  and  thirteen  more  down 
to  1592,  is  a  sufficiently  eloquent  proof  of  the  importance 
of  this  work  as  a  means  of  instruction  and  amusement 
during  the  fifteenth  and  sixteenth  centuries.  The  Direc- 
torium  was  also  the  source  of  the  Italian  version,  printed 
at  Venice  in  1552,  from  which  came  the  English  transla- 
tion of  Sir  Thomas  North  (1570).  The  latter  was  thus 
separated  from  the  Indian  original  by  five  intervening 
translations  and  a  thousand  years  of  time. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  the  changes  which  tales 
undergo  in  the  course  of  such  wanderings.  In  the 
second  edition  of  his  Fables  (1678),  La  Fontaine  acknow- 
ledges his  indebtedness  for  a  large  part  of  his  work  to 
the  Indian  sage  Pilpay.  A  well-known  story  in  the 
French  writer  is  that  of  the  milkmaid,  who,  while  carry- 
ing a  pail  of  milk  on  her  head  to  market,  and  building 
all  kinds  of  castles  in  the  air  with  the  future  proceeds 


of  the  sale  of  the  milk,  suddenly  gives  a  jump  of  joy  at 
the  prospect  of  her  approaching  fortune,  and  thereby 
shatters  the  pail  to  pieces  on  the  ground.  This  is  only 
a  transformation  of  a  story  still  preserved  in  *the  Pancha- 
tantra.  Here  it  is  a  Brahman  who,  having  filled  an 
alms-bowl  with  the  remnants  of  some  rice-pap  he  has 
begged,  hangs  it  up  on  a  nail  in  the  wall  above  his 
bed.  He  dreams  of  the  money  he  will  procure  by 
selling  the  rice  when  a  famine  breaks  out.  Then  he 
will  gradually  acquire  cattle,  buy  a  fine  house,  and 
marry  a  beautiful  girl  with  a  rich  dowry.  One  day 
when  he  calls  to  his  wife  to  take  away  his  son  who  is 
playing  about,  and  she  does  not  hear,  he  will  rise  up 
to  give  her  a  kick.  As  this  thought  passes  through  his 
mind,  his  foot  shatters  the  alms-bowl,  the  contents  of 
which  are  spilt  all  over  him. 

Another  Panchatantra  story  recurring  in  La  Fontaine 
is  that  of  the  too  avaricious  jackal.  Finding  the  dead 
bodies  of  a  boar  and  a  hunter,  besides  the  bow  of  the 
latter,  he  resolves  on  devouring  the  bowstring  first.  As 
soon  as  he  begins  to  gnaw,  the  bow  starts  asunder, 
pierces  his  head,  and  kills  him.  In  La  Fontaine  the 
jackal  has  become  a  wolf,  and  the  latter  is  killed  by 
the  arrow  shot  off  as  he  touches  the  bow. 

Nothing,  perhaps,  in  the  history  of  the  migration 
of  Indian  tales  is  more  remarkable  than  the  story  of 
Barlaam  and  Josaphat.  At  the  court  of  Khalif  Almansur 
(753-774),  under  whom  Kalllah  and  Dimnah  was  trans- 
lated into  Arabic,  there  lived  a  Christian  known  as 
John  of  Damascus,  who  wrote  in  Greek  the  story  of 
Barlaam  and  Josaphat  as  a  manual  of  Christian  theology. 
This  became  one  of  the  most  popular  books  of  the 
Middle  Ages,  being   translated   into   many   Oriental   as 


well  as  European  languages.  It  is  enlivened  by  a 
number  of  fables  and  parables,  most  of  which  have 
been  traced  to  Indian  sources.  The  very  hero  of  the 
story,  Prince  Josaphat,  has  an  Indian  origin,  being, 
in  fact,  no  other  than  Buddha.  The  name  has  been 
shown  to  be  a  corruption  of  Bodhisattva,  a  well-known 
designation  of  the  Indian  reformer.  Josaphat  rose  to 
the  rank  of  a  saint  both  in  the  Greek  and  the  Roman 
Church,  his  day  in  the  former  being  August  26,  in  the 
latter  November  27.  That  the  founder  of  an  atheistic 
Oriental  religion  should  have  developed  into  a  Christian 
saint  is  one  of  the  most  astounding  facts  in  religious 

Though  Europe  was  thus  undoubtedly  indebted  to 
India  for  its  mediaeval  literature  of  fairy  tales  and  fables, 
the  Indian  claim  to  priority  of  origin  in  ancient  times  is 
somewhat  Rubious.  A  certain  number  of  apologues  found 
in  the  collections  of  ^Esop  and  Babrius  are  distinctly 
related  to  Indian  fables.  The  Indian  claim  is  supported 
by  the  argument  that  the  relation  of  the  jackal  to  the 
lion  is  a  natural  one  in  the  Indian  fable,  while  the 
connection  of  the  fox  and  the  lion  in  Greece  has  no 
basis  in  fact.  On  the  other  side  it  has  been  urged 
that  animals  and  birds  which  are  peculiar  to  India 
play  but  a  minor  part  in  Indian  fables,  while  there 
exists  a  Greek  representation  of  the  ^Esopian  fable  of 
the  fox  and  the  raven,  dating  from  the  sixth  century 
B.C.  Weber  and  Benfey  both  conclude  that  the  Indians 
borrowed  a  few  fables  from  the  Greeks,  admitting  at 
the  same  time  that  the  Indians  had  independent  fables 
of  their  own  before.  Rudimentary  fables  are  found 
even  in  the  Chhdndogya  Upanishady  and  the  transmigra- 
tion theory  would  have  favoured  the  development  of  this 


form  of  tale ;  indeed  Buddha  himself  in  the  old  Jdtaka 
stories  appears  in  the  form  of  various  animals. 

Contemporaneously  with  the  fable  literature,  the 
most  intellectual  game  the  world  has  known  began 
its  westward  migration  from  India.  Chess  in  Sanskrit 
is  called  chatur-anga>  or  the  "  four-limbed  army," 
because  it  represents  a  kriegspiel,  in  which  two  armies, 
consisting  of  infantry,  cavalry,  chariots,  and  elephants, 
each  led  by  a  king  and  his  councillor,  are  opposed. 
The  earliest  direct  mention  of  the  game  in  Sanskrit 
literature  is  found  in  the  works  of  Bana,  and  the  Kdv- 
ydlamkdra  of  Rudrata,  a  Kashmirian  poet  of  the  ninth 
century,  contains  a  metrical  puzzle  illustrating  the 
moves  of  the  chariot,  the  elephant,  and  the  horse. 
Introduced  into  Persia  in  the  sixth  century,  chess  was 
brought  by  the  Arabs  to  Europe,  where  it  was  generally 
known  by  1100  A.D.  It  has  left  its  maris  on  medi- 
aeval poetry,  on  the  idioms  of  European  languages 
{e.g.  "  check,"  from  the  Persian  shahy  "  king "),  on  the 
science  of  arithmetic  in  the  calculation  of  progressions 
with  the  chessboard,  and  even  in  heraldry,  where  the 
"rook"  often  figures  in  coats  of  arms.  Beside  the  fable 
literature  of  India,  this  Indian  game  served  to  while 
away  the  tedious  life  of  myriads  during  the  Middle  Ages 
in  Europe. 

Turning  to  Philosophical  Literature,  we  find  that  the 
early  Greek  and  Indian  philosophers  have  many  points 
in  common.  Some  of  the  leading  doctrines  of  the 
Eleatics,  that  God  and  the  universe  are  one,  that  every- 
thing existing  in  multiplicity  has  no  reality,  that  think- 
ing and  being  are  identical,  are  all  to  be  found  in  the 
philosophy  of  the  Upanishads  and  the  Vedanta  system, 
which   is    its   outcome.     Again,  the   doctrine  of  Empe- 


docles,  that  nothing  can  arise  which  has  not  existed 
before,  and  that  nothing  existing  can  be  annihilated, 
has  its  exact  parallel  in  the  characteristic  doctrine  of 
the  Sankhya  system  about  the  eternity  and  indestructi- 
bility of  matter.  According  to  Greek  tradition,  Thales, 
Empedocles,  Anaxagoras,  Democritus,  and  others  under- 
took journeys  to  Oriental  countries  in  order  to  study 
philosophy.  Hence  there  is  at  least  the  historical  pos- 
sibility of  the  Greeks  having  been  influenced  by  Indian 
thought  through  Persia. 

Whatever  may  be  the  truth  in  the  cases  just  men- 
tioned, the  dependence  of  Pythagoras  on  Indian  philo- 
sophy and  science  certainly  seems  to  have  a  high  degree 
of  probability.  Almost  all  the  doctrines  ascribed  to  him, 
religious,  philosophical,  mathematical,  were  known  in 
India  in  the  sixth  century  B.C.  The  coincidences  are 
so  numerous  that  their  cumulative  force  becomes  con- 
siderable. The  transmigration  theory,  the  assumption 
of  five  elements,  the  Pythagorean  theorem  in  geometry, 
the  prohibition  as  to  eating  beans,  the  religio-philoso- 
phical  character  of  the  Pythagorean  fraternity,  and  the 
mystical  speculations  of  the  Pythagorean  school,  all 
have  their  close  parallels  in  ancient  India.  The  doctrine 
of  metempsychosis  in  the  case  of  Pythagoras  appears 
without  any  connection  or  explanatory  background, 
and  was  regarded  by  the  Greeks  as  of  foreign  origin.  He 
could  not  have  derived  it  from  Egypt,  as  it  was  not 
known  to  the  ancient  Egyptians.  In  spite,  however,  of 
the  later  tradition,  it  seems  impossible  that  Pythagoras 
should  have  made  his  way  to  India  at  so  early  a  date, 
but  he  could  quite  well  have  met  Indians  in  Persia. 

Coming  to  later  centuries,  we  find  indications  that  the 
Neo-Platonist  philosophy  may  have  been  influenced  by 


the  Sankhya  system,  which  flourished  in  the  first  cen- 
turies of  our  era,  and  could  easily  have  become  known 
at  Alexandria  owing  to  the  lively  intercourse  between 
that  city  and  India  at  the  time.  From  this  source 
Plotinus  (204-269  A.D.),  chief  of  the  Neo-Platonists,  may 
have  derived  his  doctrine  that  soul  is  free  from  suffering, 
which  belongs  only  to  matter,  his  identification  of  soul 
with  light,  and  his  illustrative  use  of  the  mirror,  in 
which  the  reflections  of  objects  appear,  for  the  pur- 
pose of  explaining  the  phenomena  of  consciousness. 
The  influence  of  the  Yoga  system  on  Plotinus  is  sug- 
gested by  his  requirement  that  man  should  renounce  the 
world  of  sense  and  strive  after  truth  by  contemplation. 
Connection  with  Sankhya  ideas  is  still  more  likely 
in  the  case  of  Plotinus'^  most  eminent  pupil,  Porphyry 
(232-304  A.D.),  who  lays  particular  stress  on  the  differ- 
ence between  soul  and  matter,  on  the  omnipresence  of 
soul  when  freed  from  the  bonds  of  matter,  and  on  the 
doctrine  that  the  world  has  no  beginning.  It  is  also 
noteworthy  that  he  rejects  sacrifice  and  prohibits  the 
killing  of  animals. 

The  influence  of  Indian  philosophy  on  Christian 
Gnosticism  in  the  second  and  third  centuries  seems  at 
any  rate  undoubted.  The  Gnostic  doctrine  of  the  oppo- 
sition between  soul  and  matter,  of  the  personal  exist- 
ence of  intellect,  will,  and  so  forth,  the  identification  of 
soul  and  light,  are  derived  from  the  Sankhya  system. 
The  division,  peculiar  to  several  Gnostics,  of  men  into 
the  three  classes  of  pneumatikoi,  psychikoi,  and  hylikoi,  is 
also  based  on  the  Sankhya  doctrine  of  the  three  gunas. 
Again,  Bardesanes,  a  Gnostic  of  the  Syrian  school,  who 
obtained  information  about  India  from  Indian  philoso- 
phers, assumed  the  existence  of  a  subtle  ethereal  body 


which  is  identical  with  the  linga-qarlra  of  the  Sankhya 
system.  Finally,  the  many  heavens  of  the  Gnostics  are 
evidently  derived  from  the  fantastic  cosmogony  of  later 

With  regard  to  the  present  century,  the  influence  of 
Indian  thought  on  the  pessimistic  philosophy  of  Schopen- 
hauer and  Von  Hartmann  is  well  known.  How  great 
an  impression  the  Upanishads  produced  on  the  former, 
even  in  a  second-hand  Latin  translation,  may  be  in- 
ferred from  his  writing  that  they  were  his  consolation 
in  life  and  would  be  so  in  death. 

In  Science,  too,  the  debt  of  Europe  to  India  has  been 
considerable.  There  is,  in  the  first  place,  the  great  fact 
that  the  Indians  invented  the  numerical  figures  used  all 
over  the  world.  The  influence  which  the  decimal  system 
of  reckoning  dependent  on  those  figures  has  had  not  only 
on  mathematics,  but  on  the  progress  of  civilisation  in 
general,  can  hardly  be  over-estimated.  During  the  eighth 
and  ninth  centuries  the  Indians  became  the  teachers  in 
arithmetic  and  algebra  of  the  Arabs,  and  through  them  of 
the  nations  of  the  West.  Thus,  though  we  call  the  latter 
science  by  an  Arabic  name,  it  is  a  gift  we  owe  to  India. 

In  Geometry  the  points  of  contact  between  the  Culva 
Sutras  and  the  work  of  the  Greeks  are  so  considerable, 
that,  according  to  Cantor,  the  historian  of  mathematics, 
borrowing  must  have  taken  place  on  one  side  or  the 
other.  In  the  opinion  of  that  authority,  the  (Julva  Sutras 
were  influenced  by  the  Alexandrian  geometry  of  Hero 
(215  B.C.),  which,  he  thinks,  came  to  India  after  100  B.C. 
The  (^ulva  Sutras  are,  however,  probably  far  earlier  than 
that  date,  for  they  form  an  integral  portion  of  the  (Jrauta 
Sutras,  and  their  geometry  is  a  part  of  the  Brahmanical 
theology,  having  taken  its  rise  in  India  from  practical 


motives  as  much  as  the  science  of  grammar.  The  prose 
parts  of  the  Yajurvedas  and  the  Brahmanas  constantly 
speak  of  the  arrangement  of  the  sacrificial  ground  and 
the  construction  of  altars  according  to  very  strict  rules, 
the  slightest  deviation  from  which  might  cause  the 
greatest  disaster.  It  is  not  likely  that  the  exclusive  Brah- 
mans  should  have  been  willing  to  borrow  anything^ 
closely  connected  with  their  religion  from  foreigners. 

Of  Astronomy  the  ancient  Indians  had  but  slight 
independent  knowledge.  It  is  probable  that  they  derived 
their  early  acquaintance  with  the  twenty-eight  divisions 
of  the  moon's  orbit  from  the  Chaldeans  through  their 
commercial  relations  with  the  Phoenicians.  Indian 
astronomy  did  not  really  begin  to  flourish  till  it  was 
affected  by  that  of  Greece  ;  it  is  indeed  the  one  science 
in  which  undoubtedly  strong  Greek  influence  can  be 
proved.  The  debt  which  the  native  astronomers  always 
acknowledge  they  owe  to  the  Yavanas  is  sufficiently 
obvious  from  the  numerous  Greek  terms  in  Indian  astro- 
nomical writings.  Thus,  in  Varaha  Mihira's  Hora-cdstra 
the  signs  of  the  zodiac  are  enumerated  either  by  Sans- 
krit names  translated  from  the  Greek  or  by  the  original 
Greek  names,  as  Ara  for  Aresy  Heli  for  Helios ,  Jyau  for 
Zeus.  Many  technical  terms  were  directly  borrowed  from 
Greek  works,  as  kendra  for  kentron,  jdmitra  for  diame- 
tron.  Some  of  the  very  names  of  the  oldest  astronomi- 
cal treatises  of  the  Indians  indicate  their  Western  origin. 
Thus  the  Romaka-siddhd7ita  means  the  "Roman  manual." 
The  title  of  Varaha  Mihira's  Hord-cdstra  contains  the 
Greek  word  hord. 

In  a  few  respects,  however,  the  Indians  independently 
advanced  astronomical  science  further  than  the  Greeks 
themselves,    and   at   a  later   period   they   in   their  turn 


influenced  the  West  even  in  astronomy.  For  in  the 
eighth  and  ninth  centuries  they  became  the  teachers  of 
the  Arabs  in  this  science  also.  The  siddhdntas  (Arabic 
Sind  Hind)y  the  writings  of  Aryabhata  (called  Arjehlr), 
and  the  Ahargana  (Arkand),  attributed  to  Brahmagupta, 
were  translated  or  adapted  by  the  Arabs,  and  Khalifs  of 
Bagdad  repeatedly  summoned  Indian  astronomers  to 
their  court  to  supervise  this  work.  Through  the  Arabs, 
Indian  astronomy  then  migrated  to  Europe,  which  in 
this  case  only  received  back  in  a  roundabout  way  what 
it  had  given  long  before.  Thus  the  Sanskrit  word  uchcha, 
"apex  of  a  planet's  orbit,"  was  borrowed  in  the  form 
of  aux  (gen.  aug-is)  in  Latin  translations  of  Arabic 

After  Bhaskara  (twelfth  century),  Hindu  astronomy, 
ceasing  to  make  further  progress,  became  once  more 
merged  in  the  astrology  from  which  it  had  sprung.  It 
was  now  the  turn  of  the  Arabs,  and,  by  a  strange  inver- 
sion of  things,  an  Arabic  writer  of  the  ninth  century  who 
had  written  on  Indian  astronomy  and  arithmetic,  in  this 
period  became  an  object  of  study  to  the  Hindus.  The 
old  Greek  terms  remained,  but  new  Arabic  ones  were 
added  as  the  necessity  for  them  arose. 

The  question  as  to  whether  Indian  Medical  Science 
in  its  earlier  period  was  affected  by  that  of  the  Greeks 
cannot  yet  be  answered  with  certainty,  the  two  systems 
not  having  hitherto  been  compared  with  sufficient  care. 
Recently,  however,  some  close  parallels  have  been  dis- 
covered between  the  works  of  Hippocrates  and  Charaka 
(according  to  a  Chinese  authority,  the  official  physician 
of  King  Kanishka),  which  render  Greek  influence  before 
the  beginning  of  our  era  likely. 

On   the   other   hand,   the   effect   of    Hindu   medical 


science  upon  the  Arabs  after  about  700  A.D.  was  con- 
siderable, for  the  Khalifs  of  Bagdad  caused  several  books 
on  the  subject  to  be  translated.  The  works  of  Charaka 
and  Sucruta  (probably  not  later  than  the  fourth  century 
A.D.)  were  rendered  into  Arabic  at  the  close  of  the 
eighth  century,  and  are  quoted  as  authorities  by  the  cele- 
brated Arabic  physician  Al-Razi,  who  died  in  932  A.D. 
Arabic  medicine  in  its  turn  became  the  chief  authority, 
down  to  the  seventeenth  century,  of  European  physi- 
cians. By  the  latter  Indian  medical  authors  must  have 
been  thought  highly  of,  for  Charaka  is  repeatedly  men- 
tioned in  the  Latin  translations  of  the  Arab  writers 
Avicenna  (Ibn  Slna),  Rhazes  (Al-Razi),  and  Serapion  (Ibn 
Sarafyun).  In  modern  days  European  surgery  has  bor- 
rowed the  operation  of  rhinoplasty,  or  the  formation  of 
artificial  noses,  from  India,  where  Englishmen  became 
acquainted  with  the  art  in  the  last  century. 

We  have  already  seen  that  the  discovery  of  the 
Sanskrit  language  and  literature  led,  in  the  present 
century,  to  the  foundation  of  the  two  new  sciences  of 
Comparative  Mythology  and  Comparative  Philology. 
Through  the  latter  it  has  even  affected  the  practical 
school-teaching  of  the  classical  languages  in  Europe. 
The  interest  in  Buddhism  has  already  produced  an 
immense  literature  in  Europe.  Some  of  the  finest  lyrics 
of  Heine,  and  works  like  Sir  Edwin  Arnold's  Light  of 
Asia,  to  mention  only  a  few  instances,  have  drawn  their 
inspiration  from  Sanskrit  poetry.  The  intellectual  debt 
of  Europe  to  Sanskrit  literature  has  thus  been  un- 
deniably great ;  it  may  perhaps  become  greater  still  in 
the  years  that  are  to  come. 



On  Sanskrit  legal  literature  in  general,  consult  the  very 
valuable  work  of  Jolly,  Recht  und  Sitte,  in  Biihler's  Ency- 
clopedia, 1896  (complete  bibliography).  There  are  several 
secondary  Dharma  Sutras  of  the  post-Vedic  period.  The 
most  important  of  these  is  the  Vaishnava  Dharma  fdstra 
or  Vishnu  Smriti  (closely  connected  with  the  Kathaka 
Grihya  Siitra),  not  earlier  than  200  A.D.  in  its  final  redac- 
tion (ed.  by  Jolly,  Calcutta,  1881,  trans,  by  him  in  the  Sacred 
Books  of  the  East,  Oxford,  1880).  The  regular  post-Vedic 
lawbooks  are  metrical  (mostly  in  clokas).  They  are  much 
wider  in  scope  than  the  Dharma  Sutras,  which  are  limited 
to  matters  connected  with  religion.  The  most  impor- 
tant and  earliest  of  the  metrical  Smritis  is  the  Manava 
Dharma  fdstra,  or  Code  of  Manu,  not  improbably  based 
on  a  Manava  Dharma  Sutra,  It  is  closely  connected 
with  the  Mahabharata,  of  which  three  books  alone  (iii., 
xii.,  xvi.)  contain  as  many  as  260  of  its  2684  clokas.  It 
probably  assumed  its  present  shape  not  much  later  than 
200  A.D.  It  was  ed.  by  Jolly,  London,  1887  ;  trans,  by 
Biihler,  with  valuable  introd.,  in  the  Sacred  Books,  Oxford, 
1886  ;  also  trans,  by  Burnell  (ed.  by  Hopkins),  London, 
1884;  text  ed.,  with  seven  comm.,  by  Mandlik,  Bombay, 
1886  ;  text,  with  Kulluka's  comm.,  Bombay,  1888,  better 
than  Nirn.  Sag.  Pr.,  ed.  1887.  Next  comes  the  Yajnavalkya 
Dharma  fdstra,  which  is  much  more  concise  (1009  clokas). 

It  was  probably  based  on  a  Dharma  Sutra  of  the  White 



Yajurveda ;  its  third  section  resembles  the  Pdraskara 
Grihya  Sutra,  but  it  is  unmistakably  connected  with  the 
Mdnava  Grihya  Sutra  of  the  Black  Yajurveda.  Its  ap- 
proximate date  seems  to  be  about  350  a.d.  Its  author 
probably  belonged  to  Mithila,  capital  of  Videha  (Tirhut). 
Ydjnavalkya,  ed.  and  trans,  by-  Stenzler,  Berlin,  1849  ; 
with  comm.  Mitdkshard,  3rd  ed.,  Bombay,  1892.  The 
Ndrada  Smriti  is  the  first  to  limit  dharma  to  law  in  the 
strict  sense.  It  contains  more  than  12,000  clokas,  and 
appears  to  have  been  founded  chiefly  on  Manu.  Bana 
mentions  a  Ndradiya  Dharma  fdstra,  and  Narada  was 
annotated  by  one  of  the  earliest  legal  commentators  in 
the  eighth  century.  His  date  is  probably  about  500  A.D. 
Ndrada}  ed.  by  Jolly,  Calcutta,  1885,  trans,  by  him  in 
Sacred  Books,  vol.  xxxiii.  1889.  A  late  lawbook  is  the 
Pardcara  Smriti  (anterior  to  1300  A.D.),  ed.  in  Bombay 
Sansk.  Series,  1893  ;  trans.  Bibl.  Ind.,  1887.  The  second 
stage  of  post-Vedic  legal  literature  is  formed  by  the  com- 
mentaries. The  oldest  one  preserved  is  that  of  Medha- 
tithi  on  Manu  ;  he  dates  from  about  900  A.D.  The  most 
famous  comm.  on  Manu  is  that  of  Kulluka-bhatta,  com- 
posed at  Benares  in  the  fifteenth  century,  but  it  is  nothing 
more  than  a  plagiarism  of  Govindaraja,  a  commentator 
of  the  twelfth  century.  The  most  celebrated  comm.  on 
Ydjnavalkya  is  the  Mitdkshard  of  Vijnanecvara,  com- 
posed about  1 100  A.D.  It  early  attained  to  the  position 
of  a  standard  work,  not  only  in  the  Dekhan,  but  even 
in  Benares  and  a  great  part  of  Northern  India.  In  the 
present  century  it  acquired  the  greatest  importance  in 
the  practice  of  the  Anglo-Indian  law-courts  through 
Colebrooke's  translation  of  the  section  which  it  contains 
on  the  law  of  inheritance.  From  about  1000  A.D. 
onwards,  an  innumerable  multitude  of  legal  compendia, 
called  Dharma-nibandhas,  was  produced  in  India.  The 
most  imposing  of  them  is  the  voluminous  work  in  five 


parts  entitled  Chaturvarga-chintdmani,  composed  by 
Hemadri  about  1300  a.d.  It  hardly  treats  of  law  at 
all,  but  is  a  perfect  mine  of  interesting  quotations  from 
the  Smritis  and  the  Puranas  ;  it  has  been  edited  in  the 
Bibl.  Ind.  The  Dha7'maratna  of  Jimutavahana  (probably 
fifteenth  century)  may  here  be  mentioned,  because  part  of 
it  is  the  famous  treatise  on  the  law  of  inheritance  entitled 
Ddyabhdga,  which  is  the  chief  work  of  the  Bengal  School 
on  the  subject,  and  was  translated  by  Colebrooke.  It 
should  be  noted  that  the  Indian  Smritis  are  not  on  the 
same  footing  as  the  lawbooks  of  other  nations,  but  are 
works  of  private  individuals  ;  they  were  also  written  by 
Brahmans  for  Brahmans,  whose  caste  pretensions  they 
consequently  exaggerate.  It  is  therefore  important  to 
check  their  statements  by  outside  evidence. 


No  work  of  a  directly  historical  character  is  met 
with  in  Sanskrit  literature  till  after  the  Muhammadan 
conquest.  This  is  the  Rdjatarangini,  or  "  River  of 
Kings,"  a  chronicle  of  the  kings  of  Kashmir,  begun  by 
its  author,  Kalhana,  in  1148  A.D.  It  contains  nearly  8000 
qlokas.  The  early  part  of  the  work  is  legendary  in 
character.  The  poet  does  not  become  historical  till  he 
approaches  his  own  times.  This  work  (ed.  M.  A.  Stein, 
Bombay,  1892  ;  trans,  by  Y.  C.  Datta,  Calc,  1898)  is  of 
considerable  value  for  the  archaeology  and  chronology 
of  Kashmir. 


On  the  native  grammatical  literature  see  especially 
Wackernagel,  Altindische  Grammatiky  vol.  i.  p.  lix.  sqq. 
The  oldest  grammar  preserved  is  that  of  Panini,  who, 
however,  mentions  no  fewer  than  sixty-four  predeces- 


sors.  He  belonged  to  the  extreme  north-west  of  India, 
and  probably  flourished  about  300  B.C.  His  work  con- 
sists of  nearly  4000  sutras  divided  into  eight  chapters ; 
text  with  German  trans.,  ed.  by  Bohtlingk,  Leipsic,  1887. 
Panini  had  before  him  a  list  of  irregularly  formed  words, 
which  survives,  in  a  somewhat  modified  form,  as  the 
Unddi  Sutra  (ed.  by  Aufrecht,  with  Ujjvaladatta's  comm., 
Bonn,  1859).  There  are  also  two  appendixes  to  which 
Panini  refers :  one  is  the  Dhatupdtha,  u  List  of  Verbal 
Roots,"  containing  some  2000  roots,  of  which  only  about 
800  have  been  found  in  Sanskrit  literature,  and  from 
which  about  fifty  Vedic  verbs  are  omitted  ;  the  second 
is  the  Ganapdtha,  or  "  List  of  Word-Groups,"  to  which 
certain  rules  apply.  These  ganas  were  metrically  ar- 
ranged in  the  Ganaratna-mahodadhi,  composed  by  Vardha- 
mana  im  1140  A.D.  (ed.  by  Eggeling,  London,  1879). 
Among  the  earliest  attempts  to  explain  Panini  was  the 
formulation  of  rules  of  interpretation  or  paribhdshds ;  a 
collection  of  these  was  made  in  the  last,  century  by  Nago- 
jibhatta  in  his  Paribhdshenduqekhara  (ed.  by  Kielhorn, 
Bombay  Sansk.  Sen,  1868  and  1871).  Next  we  have 
the  Vdrttikas  or  "  Notes  "  of  Katyayana  (probably  third 
century  B.C.)  on  1245  of  Panini's  rules,  and,  somewhat 
later,  numerous  grammatical  Kdrikds  or  comments  in 
metrical  form  :  all  this  critical  work  was  collected  by 
Patanjali  in  his  Mahdbhdshya  or  "  Great  Commentary," 
with  supplementary  comments  of  his  own  (ed.  Kielhorn, 
3  vols.,  Bombay).  He  deals  with  1713  rules  of  Panini. 
He  probably  lived  in  the  later  half  of  the  second  cen- 
tury B.C.,  and  in  any  case  not  later  than  the  beginning 
of  our  era.  The  Mahdbhdshya  was  commented  on  in 
the  seventh  century  by  Bhartrihari  in  his  Vdkyapadzya 
(ed.  in  Benares  Sansk.  Ser.),  which  is  concerned  with 
the  philosophy  of  grammar,  and  by  Kaiyata  (probably 
thirteenth  century).     About  650  A.D.  was  composed  the 


first  complete  comm.  on  Panini,  the  Kdgikd  Vritti  or 
"  Benares  Commentary,"  by  Jayaditya  and  Vamana 
(2nd  ed.  Benares,  1898).  In  the  fifteenth  century  Rama- 
chandra,  in  his  Prakriyd-kaumudly  or  "  Moonlight  of 
Method,"  endeavoured  to  make  Panini's  grammar  easier 
by  a  more  practical  arrangement  of  its  matter.  Bhattoji's 
Siddhdnta-kaumudl  (seventeenth  century)  has  a  similar 
aim  (ed.  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press,  Bombay,  1894);  an 
abridgment  of  this  work,  the  Laghu-kaumudly  by  Vara- 
daraja  (ed.  Ballantyne,  with  English  trans.,  4th  ed., 
Benares, '1891),  is  commonly  used  as  an  introduction  to 
the  native  system  of  grammar.  Among  non-Paninean 
grammarians  may  be  mentioned  Chandra  (about  600 
A.D.),  the  pseudo-Cakatayana  (later  than  the  Kdgikd), 
and,  the  most  important,  Hemachandra  (12th  cent.), 
author  of  a  Prakrit  grammar  (ed.  and  trans,  by-  Pischel, 
two  vols.,  Halle,  1877-80),  and  of  the  Unadigana  Sutra 
(ed.  Kirste,  Vienna,  1895).  The  Kdtantra  of  (Jarvavar- 
man  (ed.  Eggeling,  BibL  Ind.)  seems  to  have  been  the 
most  influential  of  the  later  grammars.  Vararuchi's  Prd- 
krita-prakdqa  is  a  Prakrit  grammar  (ed.  by  Cowell,  2nd 
ed.,  1868).  The  Mugdhabodha  (13th  cent.)  of  Vopa- 
deva  is  the  Sanskrit  grammar  chiefly  used  in  Bengal. 
The  Phit  Sutra  (later  than  Patanjali)  gives  rules  for  the 
accentuation  of  nouns  (ed.  Kielhorn,  1866)  ;  Hemachan- 
dra's  Lingdnuqdsana  is  a  treatise  on  gender  (ed.  Franke, 
Gottingen,  1886).  Among  European  grammars  that  of 
Whitney  was  the  first  to  attempt  a  historical  treatment 
of  the  Vedic  and  Sanskrit  language.  The  first  grammar 
treating  Sanskrit  from  the  comparative  point  of  view  is 
the  excellent  work  of  Wackernagel,  of  which,  however, 
only  the  first  part  (phonology)  has  yet  appeared.  The 
present  writer's  abridgment  (London,  1886)  of  Max 
Muller's  Sanskrit  Grammar  is  a  practical  work  for  the 
use  of  beginners  of  Classical  Sanskrit. 



Zachariae  in  Die  indischen  Worterbiicher  (in  Biihler's 
Encyclopedia,  1897)  deals  with  the  subject  as  a  whole 
(complete  bibliography).  The  Sanskrit  dictionaries  or 
kocas  are  collections  of  rare  words  or  significations  for 
the  use  of  poets.  They  are  all  versified ;  alphabetical 
order  is  entirely  absent  in  the  synonymous  and  only  in- 
cipient in  the  homonymous  class.  The  Amarakoca  (ed. 
with  Mahecvara's  comm.,  Bombay),  occupies  the  same 
dominant  position  in  lexicography  as  Panini  in  grammar, 
not  improbably  composed  about  500  A.D.  A  supplement 
to  it  is  the  Trikdnda-cesha  by  Purushottamadeva  (per- 
haps as  late  as  1300  A.D.).  (^acvata's  Anekdrtha-samuch- 
chaya  (ed.  Zachariae,  1882)  is  possibly  older  than  Amara. 
Halayudha's  Abhidhdnaratnamdld  dates  from  about  950 
A.D.  (ed.  Aufrecht,  London,  1861).  About  a  century 
later  is  Yadavaprakaga's  Vaijayantl  (ed.  Oppert,  Madras, 
1893).  The  Vicvaprakaca  of  Mahecvara  Kavi  dates  from 
in  1  A.D.  The  Mankha-koca  (ed.  Zachariae,  Bombay, 
1897)  was  composed  in  Kashmir  about  1150  A.D.  Hema- 
chandra  (1088-1172  A.D.)  composed  four  dictionaries: 
Abhidhdna-chintdmani,  synonyms  (ed.  Bohtlingk  and 
Rieu,  St.  Petersburg,  1847);  Anekdrtlia  -  samgraha, 
homonyms  (ed.  Zachariae,  Vienna,  1893) ;  Declndma- 
mdldy  2.  Prakrit  dictionary  (ed.  Pischel,  Bombay,  1880)  ; 
and  Nighaiitu-ceshay  a  botanical  glossary,  which  forms  a 
supplement  to  his  synonymous  koca. 


Cf.  Sylvain  Levi,  Theatre  Indien,  pp.  1-2 1  ;  Regnaud, 
La  Rhetorique  Sanskrite,  Paris,  1884 ;  Jacob,  Notes  on 
Alamkara  Literature,  in  Journal  of  the  Roy.  As.  Sac,  1897, 


1898.  The  oldest  and  most  important  work  on  poetics 
is  the  Natya  fdstra  of  Bharata,  which  probably  goes 
back  to  the  sixth  century  A.D.  (ed.  in  Kdvyamdla,  No. 
42,  Bombay,  1894;  ed.  by  Grosset,  Lyons,  1897).  Dan- 
din's  Kavyadarca  (end  of  sixth  century)  contains  about 
650  clokas  (ed.  with  trans,  by  Bohtlingk,  Leipsic,  1890). 
Vamana's  Kdvyalamkaravritti,  probably  eighth  century 
(ed.  Cappeller,  Jena,  1875).  ^ringara-tilaka,  or  "  Orna- 
ment of  Erotics,"  by  Rudrabhata  (ninth  century),  ed.  by 
Pischel,  Kiel,  1886  (cf.  J ournal  of  German  Or.  Soc.}  1888, 
p.  296  If.,  425  ff. ;  Vienna  Or,  Journal,  ii.  p.  151  ff.). 
Rudrata  (^atananda's  Kdvyalamkara  (ed.  in  Kdvyamdla) 
belongs  to  the  ninth  century.  Dhanamjaya's  Dacarupa, 
on  the  ten  kinds  of  drama,  belongs  to  the  tenth  century 
(ed.  Hall,  1865;  with  comm.  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press, 
Bombay,  1897).  The  Kavyaprakaca  by  Mammata  and 
Alata  dates  from  about  1100  (ed.  in  the  Pandit,  1897). 
The  Sdhityadarpana  was  composed  in  Eastern  Bengal 
about  1450  A.D.,  by  Vigvanatha  Kaviraja  (ed.  ].  Vidyasa- 
gara,  Calcutta,  1895  ;  trans,  by  Ballantyne  in  Bibl.  Ind.). 

Mathematics  and  Astronomy. 

The  only  work  dealing  with  this  subject  as  a  whole 
is  Thibaut's  Astronomie,  Astrologie  und  Mathematik,  in 
Buhler-Kielhorn's  Encyclopedia,  1899  (full  bibliography). 
See  also  Cantor,  Geschichte  der  Mathematik,  pp.  505-562, 
Leipsic,  1880.  Mathematics  are  dealt  with  in  special  chap-  / 
ters  of  the  works  of  the  early  Indian  astronomers.  In 
algebra  they  attained  an  eminence  far  exceeding  anything 
ever  achieved  by  the  Greeks.  The  earliest  works  of  scien-  - 
tine  Indian  astronomy  (after  about  300  A.D.)  were  four 
treatises  called  Siddhdntas ;  only  one,  the  Suryasiddhdnta 
(ed.  and  trans,  by  Whitney,  Journ.  Am.  Or.  Soc,  vol.  vi.), 
has  survived.     The  doctrines  of  such  early  works  were 


reduced  to  a  more  concise  and  practical  form  by  Arya- 
bhata,  born,  as  he  tells  us  himself,  at  Pataliputra  in 
476  A.D.  He  maintained  the  rotation  of  the  earth  round 
its  axis  (a  doctrine  not  unknown  to  the  Greeks),  and 
explained  the  cause  of  eclipses  of  the  sun  and  moon. 
Mathematics  are  treated  in  the  third  section  of  his  work, 
the  Aryabhatiya  (ed.  with  comm.  by  Kern,  Leyden,  1874; 
math,  section  trans,  by  Rodet,  Journal  Asiatique,  1879). 
Varaha  Mihira,  born  near  Ujjain,  began  his  calcula- 
tions about  505  A.D.,  and,  according  to  one  of  his  com- 
mentators, died  in  587  A.D.  He  composed  four  works, 
written  for  the  most  part  in  the  Aryd  metre ;  three  are 
astrological  :  the  Brihat-samhitd  (ed.  Kern,  BibL  Ind., 
1864,  1865,  trans,  in  Journ.  As.  Soc,  vol.  iv.  ;  new  ed. 
with  comm.  of  Bhattotpala  by  S.  Dvivedl,  Benares, 
1895-97),  the  Brihaj-jdtaka  (or  Hord-qdstra,  trans,  by  C. 
Jyer,  Madras,  1885),  and  the  Laghu-jdtaka  (partly  trans. 
by  Weber,  Ind.  Stud.,  vol.  ii.,  and  by  Jacobi,  1872).  His 
Pancha-siddhdntikd  (ed.  and  for  the  most  part  trans,  by 
Thibaut  and  S.  Dvivedl,  Benares,  1889),  based  on  five 
siddhdntasy  is  a  karana  or  practical  astronomical  treatise. 
Another  distinguished  astronomer  was  Brahmagupta, 
who,  born  in  598  A.D.,  wrote,  besides  a  karana,  his 
Brahma  Sphuta-siddhanta  when  thirty  years  old  (chaps, 
xii.  and  xviii.  are  mathematical).  The  last  eminent 
Indian  astronomer  was  Bhaskaracharya,  born  in  11 14 
A.D.  His  Siddhdnta-giromani  has  enjoyed  more  autho- 
rity in  India  than  any  other  astronomical  work  except 
the  Surya-siddhdnta. 


Indian  medical  science  must  have  begun  to  develop 
before  the  beginning  of  our  era,  for  one  of  its  chief 
authorities,    Charaka,    was,    according    to    the    Chinese 


translation  of  the  Buddhist  Tripitaka,  the  official  physi- 
cian of  King  Kanishka  in  the  first  century  A.D.  His 
work,  the  Charaka-samhitd,  has  been  edited  several  times  : 
by  J.  Vidyasagara,  2nd  ed.,  Calcutta,  1896,  by  Gupta, 
Calcutta,  1897,  witn  comrn.  by  C.  Dutta,  Calcutta,  1892- 
1893  ;  trans,  by  A.  C.  Kaviratna,  Calcutta,  1897.  Sugruta, 
the  next  great  authority,  seems  to  have  lived  not  later 
than  the  fourth  century  A.D.,  as  the  Bower  MS.  (probably 
fifth  century  A.D.)  contains  passages  not  only  parallel 
to,  but  verbally  agreeing  with,  passages  in  the  works  of 
Charaka  and  Sugruta.  (The  Sucruta-samhitd,  ed.  by  J. 
Vidyasagara,  Calcutta,  3rd  ed.,  1889 ;  A.  C.  Kaviratna, 
Calcutta,  1888-95  ;  trans,  by  Dutta,  1883,  Chattopa- 
dhyaya,  1891,  Hoernle,  1897,  Calcutta.)  The  next  best 
known  medical  writer  is  Vagbhata,  author  of  the  Ash- 
tanga-hriday  a  (ed.,  with  comm.  of  Arunadatta,  by  A.  M. 
Kunte,  Bombay,  Nir.  Sag.  Press,  1891).  Cf.  also  articles 
by  Haas  in  vols,  xxx.,  xxxi.,  and  by  A.  M tiller  in  xxxiv.  of 
Jour,  of  Germ.  Or.  Soc. ;  P.  Cordier,  Etudes  sur  la  Mede- 
cine  Hindoue}  Paris,  1894  ;  Vagbhata  et  V Astdngahridaya- 
samhitd,  Besanc,on,  1896 ;  Lietard,  Le  Medecin  Charaka , 
&c,  in  Bull,  de  !Ac.  de  Me'decine,  May  11,  1897. 


On  Indian  music  see  Raja  Sir  Sourindro  Mohun 
Tagore,  Hindu  Music  from  various  Authors ,  Calcutta, 
1875  ;  Ambros,  Geschichte  der  Musik,  vol.  i.  pp.  41-80 ; 
Day,  The  Music  and  Musical  Instruments  of  Southern 
India  and  the  Deccan,  Edinburgh,  1891  ;  (^arngadeva's 
Samgltaratnakaray  ed.  Telang,  Anand.  Sansk.  Ser.,  1897  ; 
Somanatha's  Ragavibodha,  ed.  with  comm.  by  P.  G. 
Gharpure  (parts  i.-v.),  Poona,  1895. 

On  painting  and  sculpture  see  E.  Moor,  The  Hindu 
Pantheon,  London,  18 10  ;  Burgess,  Notes  on  the  Bauddha 


Rock  Temples  of  Ajanta,  Bombay,  1879;  Griffiths  Paint- 
ings of  the  Buddhist  Cave  Temples  of  Ajanta,  2  vols.,  Lon- 
don, 1896-97  ;  Burgess,  The  Gandhdra  Sculptures  (with 
100  plates),  London,  1895  ;  Fergusson,  Tree  and  Serpent 
Worship  (illustrations  of  mythology  and  art  in  India  in 
the  first  and  fourth  centuries  after  Christ),  London,  1868  ; 
Cunningham's  Reports,  i.  and  iii.  (Reliefs  from  Buddha 
Gay  a) ;  Griinwedel,  Buddhistiche  Kunst  in  Indien,  Berlin, 
1893  ;  Kern,  Manual  of  Buddhism,  in  Biihler's  Encyclo- 
pcedia,  pp.  91-96,  Strasburg,  1896;  H.  H.Wilson,  Ariana 
Antiqua,  London,  1841. 

On  Indian  architecture  see  Fergusson,  History  of 
Indian  and  Eastern  Architecture,  London,  1876  ;  The 
Rock- Cut  Temples  of  India,  1864 ;  Cunningham,  The 
Bhilsa  Topes,  or  Buddhist  Monuments  of  Central  Indiat 
London,  1854;  Reports  of  the  Archaeological  Survey  of 
India,  Calcutta,  since  1871  ;  Mahdbodhi,  or  the  great 
Buddhist  Temple  under  the  Bodhi  tree  at  Buddha 
Gaya,  London,  1892  ;  Burgess,  Archaeological  Survey 
of  Western  India  and  of  Southern  India ;  Daniell, 
Antiquities  of  India,  London,  1800  ;  Hindu  Excavations 
in  the  Mountain  of  El  lor  a,  London,  1816  ;  R.  Mitra,  The 
Antiquities  of  Orissa,  Calcutta,  1875. 

On  Technical  Arts  see  fournal  of  Indian  Art  and 
Industry  (London,  begun  in  1884). 



On  the  history  of  Sanskrit  studies  see  especially  Benfey, 
Geschichte  der  Sprachwissenschaft,  Munich,  1869.  A  very  valu- 
able work  for  Sanskrit  Bibliography  is  the  annual  Orientalische 
Bibliographies  Berlin  (begun  in  1888).  Page  1  :  Some  inaccurate 
information  about  the  religious  ideas  of  the  Brahmans  may  be 
found  in  Purchas,  His  Pilgrimage,  or  Relations  of  the  World  and 
the  Religions  observed  in  all  Ages,  2nd  ed.,  London,  16 14;  and 
Lord,  A  Discoverie  of  the  Sect  of  the  Banians  [Hindus],  London, 
1630.  Abraham  Roger,  Open  Deure,  1631  (contains  trans,  of 
two  centuries  of  Bhartrihari).  Page  2,  Dugald  Stewart,  Philosophy 
of  the  Human  Mind,  part  2,  chap.  i.  sect.  6  (conjectures  concern- 
ing the  origin  of  Sanskrit).  C.  W.  Wall,  D.D.,  An  Essay  on  the 
Nature,  Age,  and  Origin  of  the  Sanskrit  Writing  and  Language, 
Dublin,  1838.  Halhed,  A  Code  of  Gentoo  [Hindu]  Law,  or 
Ordinations  of  the  Pandits,  from  a  Persian  translation,  made  from 
the  original  written  in  the  Shanscrit  language,  1776.  Page  4: 
F.  Schlegel,  Ueber  die  Sprache  und  Weisheit  der  Lnder,  Heidel- 
berg, 1808.  Bopp,  Conjugationssystem,  Frankfort,  18 16.  Cole- 
brooke,  On  the  Vedas,  in  Asiatic  Researches,  Calcutta,  1805.  P. 
5:  Roth,  Zur  Literatur  und  Geschichte  des  Veda,  Stuttgart,  1846. 
Bohtlingk  and  Roth's  Sanskrit-German  Dictionary,  7  vols.,  St. 
Petersburg,  1852-75.  Biihler's  Encyclopcedia  of  Indo- Aryan 
Research,  Strasburg  (the  parts,  some  German,  some  English, 
began  to  appear  in  1896).  Page  6 :  See  especially  Aufrecht's 
Catalogus  Catalogorum  (Leipsic,  1891 ;  Supplement,  1896),  which 
gives  a  list  of  Sanskrit  MSS.  in  the  alphabetical  order  of  works 
and    authors.     Adalbert  Kuhn,  Herabkunft  des   Feuers,    1849; 

2nd  ed.,  Giitersloh,  1886.     Page  n  :  A  valuable  book  on  Indian 



chronology  (based  on  epigraphic  and  numismatic  sources)  is 
Duffs  The  Chronology  of  India,  London,  1899.  On  the  date  of 
Buddha's  death,  cf  Oldenberg,  Buddha,  Berlin,  3rd  ed.,  1897. 
Page  13:  Fa  Hian,  trans,  by  Legge,  Oxford,  1886;  Hiouen 
Thsang,  trans,  by  Beal,  Si-yu-ki,  London,  1884;  /  Tsing,  trans,  by 
Takakusu,  Oxford,  1896.  Fiihrer,  Monograph  on  Buddha  Sakya- 
muni's  Birthplace,  Arch.  Surv.  of  India,  vol.  xxvi.,  Allahabad, 
1897;  Alberuni's  India,  trans,  into  English  by  Sachau,  London, 
1885.  Page  14:  Corpus  Inscriptionum  Indicarum,  vol.  i.,  1877, 
vol.  iii.,  1888,  Calcutta.  Epigraphia  Indica,  Calcutta,  from  1888. 
Important  Oriental  journals  are  :  Indian  Antiquary,  Bombay ; 
Zeitschrift  der  deutschen  morgenldndischen  Gesellschaft,  Leipsic; 
Journal  of  the  Royal  Asiatic  Society,  London  (with  a  Bengal 
branch  at  Calcutta  and  another  at  Bombay) ;  Journal  Asiatique, 
Paris  ;  Vienna  Oriental  Journal,  Vienna  ;  Journal  of  the  Ameri- 
can Oriental  Society,  New  Haven,  Conn.  On  the  origin  of  Indian 
writing  (pp.  14-20),  see  Biihler,  Indische  Falceographie,  Stras- 
burg,  1896,  and  On  the  Origin  of  the  Indian  Brahma  Alphabet, 
Strasburg,  1898.  Page  18  :  The  oldest  known  Sanskrit  MSS.,  now 
in  the  Bodleian  Library,  has  been  reproduced  in  facsimile  by  Dr. 
R.  Hoernle,  The  Bower  Manuscript,  Calcutta,  1897.  The  Pali 
Kharoshthl  &IS.  is  a  Prakrit  recension  of  the  Dhammapada, 
found  near  Khotan ;  see  Senart,  Journal  Asiatique,  1898,  pp. 
193-304.  Page  27:  The  account  here  given  of  the  Prakrit 
dialects  is  based  mainly  on  a  monograph  of  Dr.  G.  A.  Grierson 
(who  is  now  engaged  on  a  linguistic  survey  of  India),  The 
Geographical  Distribution  and  Mutual  Affinities  of  the  Indo- 
Aryan  Vernaculars.  On  Pali  literature,  see  Rhys  Davids,  Bud- 
dhism, its  History  and  Literature,  London,  1896.  On  Prakrit 
literature,  see  Grierson,  The  Mediceval  Vernacular  Literature  of 
Hindustan,-  trans,  of  7th  Oriental  Congress,  Vienna,  1888,  and 
The  Modern  Vernacular  Literature  of  Hindustan,  Calcutta,  1889. 


On  the  text  and  metres  of  the  Rigveda  see  especially  Olden- 
berg,   Die  Hymnen  des  Rigveda,    vol.    i.,   Prolegomena,  Berlin, 


1SS8;  on  the  accent,  Wackernagel,  Altindische  Grammatik, 
vol.  i.  pp.  281-300  (full  bibliography),  Gottingen,  1896;  on  the 
A'igveda  in  general,  Kaegi,  The  Rigveda,  English  translation  by 
Arrowsmith,  Boston,  1886.  ■  Editions:  Samhita  text,  ed.  Max 
Miiller,  London,  1873;  Pada  text,  1877;  Samhita  text  (in 
Roman  characters),  ed.  Aufrecht,  Bonn,  1877  (2nd  ed.);  Sam- 
hita and  Pada  text  with  Sayana's  commentary,  2nd  ed.,  4  vols., 
by  Max  Miiller,  London,  1890-92.  Selections  in  Lanman's 
Sanskrit  deader  (full  notes  and  vocabulary) ;  Peterson's  Hymns 
from  the  Rigveda  (Bombay  Sanskrit  Series) ;  A  Bergaigne  and 
V.  Henry's  Manuel  pour  etudier  le  Sanskrit  Vedique,  Paris, 
1890;  Windisch,  Zwblf  Hymnen  des  Rigveda,  Leipzig,  1883; 
Hillebrandt,  Vedachrestomathie,  Berlin,  1885;  Bohtlingk,  Sans- 
krit-Chrestomathie,  3rd  ed.,  Leipsic,  1897.  Translations;  R.  H. 
T.  Griffith,  The  Rigveda  metrically  translated  into  English,  2  vols., 
Benares,  1896-97;  Max  Miiller,  Vedic  Hymns  (to  the  Maruts, 
Rudra,  Vayu,  Vata  :  prose),  in  Sacred  Books  of  the  East,  vol.  xxxii., 
Oxford,  1 89 1 ;  Oldenberg,  Vedic  Hymns  (to  Agni  in  Books  i.-v. : 
prose),  ibid.,  vol.  xlvi.,  1897 ;  A.  Ludwig  (German  prose),  6 
vols.,  Prag,  1876-88  (introduction,  commentary,  index).  Lexico- 
graphy:  Grassmann,  Worterbuch  zum  Rigveda,  Leipsic,  1873; 
the  Vedic  portion  of  Bohtlingk  and  Roth's  Lexicoil  and  of  Boht- 
lingk's  smaller  St.  Petersburg  Dictionary  (Leipsic,  1879-89); 
Monier- Williams,  Sanskrit- English  Dictionary,  2nd  ed.,  Oxford, 
1899;  Macdonell,  Sanskrit- English  Dictionary  (for  selected 
hymns),  London,  1893.  Grammar:  Whitney,  Sanskrit  Gram- 
mar, 3rd  ed.,  Leipzig,  1896;  Wackernagel,  op.  cit.,  vol.  i. 
(phonology);  Delbriick,  Altindische  Syntax  (vol.  v.  of  Syntak- 
tische  Forschungen),  Halle,  1888;  Speijer,  Vedische  und  Sanskrit 
Syntax  in  Biihler's  Encyclopedia,  Strasburg,  1896. 

CHAPTERS  IV.  and  V. 

Consult  especially  Macdonell,  Vedic  Mythology,  in  Biihler's 
Encyclopaedia,  vol.  iii.  part  1  (complete  bibliography),  1897  ;  also 
Kaegi,  op.  cit.  ;  Muir,   Original  Sanskrit  Texts,  vol.  v.,  3rd  ed., 


London,  1884;  Barth,  The  Religions  of  India •,  English  trans., 
London,  1882;  Hopkins,  The  Religions  of  India,  Boston,  1895; 
Oldenberg,  Die  Religion  des  Veda,  Berlin,  1894;  Bergaigne,  la 
Religion  Vedique,  3  vols.,  Paris,  1878-83;  Pischel  and  Geldner, 
Vedische  Studien,  2  vols.,  Stuttgart,  1889-92  ;  Deussen,  Allge- 
meine  Geschichte  der  Philosophic,  vol.  i.  part  1  :  Philosophie  des 
Veda,  Leipsic,  1894.  On  method  of  interpretation  (pp.  59-64), 
cf.  Muir,  The  Interpretation  of  the  Veda,  in  the  Journal  of  the  Roy. 
As.  Soc,  1866.  Page  68  :  On  the  modification  of  the  threefold 
division  of  the  universe  among  the  Greeks,  cf  Kaegi,  op.  cit., 
note  118.  P.  128  :  On  dice  in  India  and  the  Vibhidaka  tree,  cf 
Roth  in  Gurupujdkaumudl,  pp.  1-4,  Leipsic,  1896. 


Consult  especially  Zimmer,  Altindisches  leben,  Berlin,  1879. 
On  the  home. of  the  Rigvedic  Aryans  (p.  145)  cf.  Hopkins,  The 
Panjdb  and  the  Rig- Veda,  Journal  of  the  Am.  Or.  Soc,  1898, 
p.  19  ff.  On  the  Hamsa  (p.  150)  cf.  Lanman,  The  Milk-drink- 
ing Hahsas  of  Sanskrit  Poetry,  ibid.,  p.  151  ff.  On  the  Vedic 
tribes  (pp.  153-157),  cf  Excursus  I.  in  Oldenberg's  Buddha,  Berlin, 
1897.  On  the  origin  of  the  castes  (p.  160)  cf.  Oldenberg,  Journal 
of  the  Germ.  Or.  Soc,  1897,  pp.  267-290;  R.  Fick,  Die  Sociale 
Gliederung  im  nordostlichen  Indien  zu  Buddha's  Zeit,  Kiel,  1897. 


Samaveda :  text  with  German  trans,  and  glossary,  ed.  by  Benfey, 
Leipsic,  1848;  by  Satyavrata  Samagrami,  Calcutta,  1873  (Bibl. 
7^/.),  trans,  by  Griffith,  Benares,  1893.  Yajurveda:  i.Vdjasaneyi 
Samhitd,  ed.  Weber,  with  the  comm.  of  Mahldhara,  London,  Ber- 
lin, 1852  ;  trans,  by  Griffith,  Benares,  1899  ;  2.  Taittirtya  Samhitd, 
ed.  (in  Roman  characters)  Weber,  Berlin,  1871-72  (vols,  xi.-xii.  of 
Jndische  Studien) ;  also  edited  with  the  comm.  of  Madhava  in  the 
Bibl.  Ind. ;  3.  Maitrdyani  Samhitd,  ed.  (with  introduction)  by  L  v. 
Schroeder,  Leipsic,  1881-86;   4.  Kdthaka  Samhitd,  ed.  in  pre- 


paration  by  the  same  scholar.  Atharvaveda :  text  ed.  Roth  and 
Whitney,  Berlin,  1856  {index  verborum  in  the  Journal  of  the  Am. 
Or.  Soc,  vol.  xii.)  j  trans,  into  English  verse  by  Griffith,  2  vols., 
Benares,  1897,  and  (with  the  omission  of  less  important  hymns) 
by  Bloomfield  into  English  prose,  with  copious  notes,  vol.  xlii.  of 
the  Sacred  Books  of  the  East.  Subject-matter  :  Bloomfield,  The 
Atharvaveda  in  Biihler's  Encyclopedia,  Strasburg,  1899. 


Aitareya  Brahmana,  ed.  Aufrecht,  Bonn,  1879  (best  edition); 
ed.  and  trans,  by  Haug,  2  vols.,  Bombay,  1863;  Kaushltaki  or 
fdnkhdyana  Brahmana,  ed.  Lindner,  Jena,  1887;  Aitareya 
Aranyaka,  ed.  R.  Mitra,  Calcutta,  1876  {Bib I.  Ind.) ;  Kaushltaki 
Aranyaka,  unedited;  Tdndya  Mahdbrdhmana  or  Panchavimca 
Brahmana,  ed.  A.  Vedantavagica,  Calcutta,  1869-74  (Bib/.  Ind.); 
Shadvimca  Brahmana,  ed.  J.  Vidyasagara,  1881  ;  ed.  with 
trans,  by  Klemm,  Giitersloh,  1894;  Samavidhdna  Brahmana, 
ed.  Burnell,  London,  1873,  trans,  by  Konow,  Halle,  1893 ; 
Vamca  Brahmana,  ed.  Weber,  Indische  Studien,  vol.  iv.  pp. 
371  ff.,  and  by  Burnell,  Mangalore,  1873.  Burnell  also  edited 
the  Devatddhydya  Br.,  1873,  the  Arsheya  Br.,  1876,  Samhitd 
Upanishad  Br.,  1877;  Mantra  Br.,  ed.  S.  SamacramI,  Calc, 
1890;  Jaiminiya  or  Talavakdra  Br.,  ed.  in  part  by  Burnell, 
1878,  and  by  Oertel,  with  trans,  and  notes,  in  the  Journal  of  the 
Am.  Or.  Soc,  vol.  xvi.  pp.  79-260;  Taittirlya  Br.,  ed.  R.  Mitra, 
1855-70  (Bibl.  Ind.),  N.  Godabole,  Anand.  Ser.,  1898  ;  Taittirlya 
Aranyaka,  ed.  H.  N.  Apte,  Anand.  Ser,  Poona,  1898  ;  £atapatha 
Br.,  ed.  Weber,  Berlin,  London,  1859;  trans,  by  Eggeling  in  Sacred 
Books,  5  vols. ;  Gopatha  Br.,  ed.  R.  Mitra  and  H.  Vidyabhushana, 
1872  {Bibl.  Ind.),  fully  described  in  Bloomfield's  Atharva- 
veda, pp.  101-124,  in  Biihler's  Encyclopaedia,  1899.  The  most 
important  work  on  the  Upanishads  in  general  is  Deussen,  Die 
Philosophie  der  Upanishads,  Leipsic,  1899;  trans,  of  several 
Upanishads  by  Max  Muller,  Sacred  Books,  vols.  i.  and  xv.  ; 
Deussen,  Sechzig  Upanishad 's  (trans,  with  valuable  introductions), 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL  NOTES         .      443 

Leipsic,  1897;  a  very  useful  book  is  Jacob,  A  Concordance  to 
the  Principal  Upanishads  and  Bhagavadgltd  (Bombay  Sanskrit 
Series),  1891.  P.  226  :  Thirty-two  Upanishads,  ed.  with  comm.  in 
Anandagrama  Series,  Poona,  1895;  Aitareya  Upanishad,  ed. 
Roer,  1850  (Bid/.  Ind.),  also  ed.  in  Anandagrama  Series,  1889  ; 
Kaushltaki  Brdhmana  Upanishad,  ed.  Cowell,  Calc.,  1861  (Bid/. 
Ind.);  Chhdndogya  Up.,  ed.  with  trans,  by  Bohtlingk,  Leipsic, 
1889;  also  in  Anand.  Ser.,  1890.  P.  229  :  Kena  or  Ta/avakdra,  ed. 
Roer,  Calc,  1850;  also  in  Anand.  Ser.,  1889;  Maitri  Up.,  ed. 
Cowell,  1870  (Bib/.  Ind.);  Cvetdfvatara,  ed.  Roer,  1850,  Anand. 
Ser.  1890;  Kdthaka  Up.,  ed.  Roer,  1850,  ed.  with  comm.  by 
Apte,  Poona,  1889,  by  Jacob,  1891;  Taittiriya  Up.,  ed.  Roer, 
1850,  Anand.  Ser.,  1889  ;  Brihaddranyaka  Up.,  ed.  and  trans, 
by  Bohtlingk,  Leipzig,  1889,  also  ed.  in  Anand.  Ser.,  1891 ;  ffd 
Up.,  ed.  in  Anand.  Ser.,  1888;  Mundaka  Up.,  ed.  Roer,  1850, 
Apte,  Anand.  Ser.,  1889,  Jacob,  1891 ;  Pracna  Up.,  Anand. 
Ser.,  1889,  Jacob,  1891  ;  Mdndukya,  Up.,  Anand.  Ser.,  1890, 
Jacob,  1 891;  ed.  with  Eng.  trans,  and  notes,  Bombay,  1895; 
Mahdndrayana  Up.,  ed.  by  Jacob,  with  comm.,  Bombay  Sansk.  Ser., 
1888;  Nrisimhatdpanlya  Up.,  Anand.  Ser.,  1895.  P.  242:  The 
parallelism  of  £ankara  and  Plato  is  rather  overstated ;  for  Plato, 
on  the  one  hand,  did  not  get  rid  of  Duality,  and,  on  the  other, 
only  said  that  Becoming  is  not  true  Being. 


On  the  sutras  in  general  consult  Hillebrandt,  Rituai-Litteratur, 
in  Biihler's  Encyrfopadia,  1897  ;  Afua/ayana  Qrauta  Sutra,  ed. 
R.  Vidyaratna,  Calc,  1864-74  (Bib/.  Ind.) ;  fdnhhdyana  frauta, 
ed.  Hillebrandt,  1885-99  (Bib/.  Ind.);  Idtyayana  frauta,  ed.  A 
Vagiga,  Calc,  1870-72  (Bib/.  Ind.);  Macaka  and  Drdhydyana 
Crauta,  unedited/  Kdtydyana  frauta,  ed.  Weber,  London, 
Berlin,  1855;  Apastamba  Crauta,  in  part  ed.  by  Hillebrandt, 
Calc,  1882-97  (Bib/.  Ind.);  Vaiidna  Sutra,  ed.  Garbe,  London, 
1878;  trans,  by  Garbe,  Strasburg,  1878.  Afoa/dyana  Grihya 
Sutra,  ed.  with  trans,  by  Stenzler,  Leipsic,   1864-65;  ed.  with 


comm.  and  notes,  Bombay,  1895  ;  trans,  in  Sacred  Books, 
vol.  xxix.  ;  £dnkhdyana  Grihya,  ed.  and  trans,  into  German  by 
Oldenberg,  Jndische  Studien,  vol.  xv. ;  Eng.  trans,  in  Sacred 
Books,  vol.  xxix. ;  Gobhila  Grihya,  ed.  with  comm.  by  Ch. 
Tarkalamkara,  Calc.,  1880  (Bid/.  Ind);  ed.  by  Knauer,  Dorpat, 
1884;  trans,  by  Knauer,  Dorpat,  1887;  trans,  in  Sacred  Books, 
vol.  xxx.  j  Fdraskara  Grihya,  ed.  and  trans,  by  Stenzler,  Leipsic, 
1876;  trans,  in  Sacred  Books,  vol.  xxix.;  Apastamba  Grihya, 
ed.  Winternitz,  Vienna,  1887;  trans,  in  Sacred  Books,  vol.  xxx.  ; 
Hiranyakefi  Grihya,ed.  Kirste,  Vienna,  1889;  trans.  Sacred  Books, 
vol.  xxx. ;  Mantrapdtha,  ed.  Winternitz,  Oxford,  1897  ;  Manava 
Grihya,  ed.  Knauer,  Leipsic,  1897 ;  Kanaka  Sutra,  ed.  Bloomfield, 
New  Haven,  1890  ;  Pitrimedha  Sutras  of  Baudhayana,  Hiranya- 
kec,in,  Gautama,  ed.  Caland,  Leipsic,  1896.  Apastamba  Dharma 
Sutra,  ed.  Biihler,  Bombay  Sansk.  Ser.,  two  parts,  1892  and  1894; 
Baudhayana  Dh.  S.,  ed.  Hultzsch,  Leipsic,  1884;  Gauta?na 
Dharma  fastra,  ed.  Stenzler,  London,  1876;  Vasishtha  Dharma 
Cdstra,  ed.  Fiihrer,  Bombay,  1883;  Hiranyakefi  Dharma  Sutra, 
unedited ;  Vaikhdnasa  Dharma  Sutra,  described  by  Bloch, 
Vienna,  1896;  Apastamba,  Gautama,  Vasishtha,  Baudhayana, 
trans,  by  Biihler,  Sacred  Books,  2nd  ed.,  Oxford,  1897.  Rigveda 
Prdtifdkhya,  ed.  with  German  trans,  by  Max  Miiller,  Leipsic,  1856- 
69  ;  ed.  withUvata's  comm.,  Benares,  1894;  Riktantravydkarana 
(Sdma  Pr.),  ed.,  trans.  Burnell,  Mangalore,  1879;  Taittiriya  Prat., 
ed.  Whitney,  Journ.  of  the  Am.  Or.  Soc,  vol.  ix.,  187 1  ;  Vdjasaneyi 
Prat.,  ed.  with  comm.  of  Uvata,  Benares  Sansk.  Series,  1888  ; 
Atharvaveda  Prat.,  ed.  Whitney,  Journal  Am.  Or.  Soc,  vols.  vii.  and 
x.  The  Culva  Sutra  of  Baudhayana,  ed.  and  trans,  by  Thibaut,  in 
the  Pandit,  vol.  ix.  j  cf.  his  article  on  the  fu/vasutras  in  the  Jour, 
of  As.  Soc.  Bengal,  vol.  xliv.,  Calc.  1875.  Six  Vedangas,  Sanskrit 
text,  Bombay,  1892;  Yaska's  JSirukta,  ed.  R.  Roth,  Gottingen, 
1852  ;  ed.  with  comm.  by  S.  Samacrami  (Bibl.  Ind.) ;  Sarvdnu- 
kramanl,  ed.  Macdonell,  Oxford,  1886  (together  with  Anuvd- 
kanukratnanl  and  Shadguruc,ishya's  comm.) ;  Arshdnukramani, 
Chhandonukramani,  Brihaddevatd,  ed.  R.  Mitra,  1892  (Bibl. 
Ind.);  Pingala's  Chhandah  Sutra,  ed.  in  Bibl.  Ind.,  1874;  in 
Weber's  Indische  Studien,  vol.  viii.  (which  is  important  as  treat- 


ing  of  Sanskrit  metres  in  general)  ;  Nidana  Sutra,  partly  edited, 
ibid. ;  Sarvdnukrama  Sutras  of  White  Yajurveda,  ed.  by  Weber 
in  his  ed.  of  that  Veda;  ed.  with  comm.,  Benares  Sansk.  Ser., 
1893-94;  Charanavyiiha,  ed.  Weber,  Ind.  Stud.,  vol.  iii.  On 
Madhava  see  Klemm  in  Gurupujdkaumudl,  Leipsic,  1896. 


On  the  Mahabharata  in  general,  consult  especially  Holtzmann, 
Das  Mahabharata,  4  vols.,  Kiel,  1892-95  ;  Biihler,  Indian  Studies, 
No.  II.,  Trans,  of  Imp.  Vienna  Academy,  1892  ;  cf.  also  Jacobi  in 
Gdttinger  Gelehrte  Anzeigen,  vol.  viii.  659  ff. ;  W'mtemiiz,  Journal 
of  the  Roy.  As.  Soc,  1897,  p.  713  ff. ;  Indian  Antiquary,  vol. 
xxvii.  Editions:  5  vols.,  Bombay,  1888,  Calc,  1894;  trans,  into 
Eng.  prose  at  the  expense  of  Pratapa  Chandra  Ray,  Calc,  1896 ; 
literal  trans,  into  Eng.  by  M.  N.  Dutt,  5  vols.,  Calc,  1896. 
Episode  of  Sdvitrl,  ed.  Kellner,  with  introd.  and  notes,  Leipsic, 
1888;  Nala,  text  in  Blihler's  Third  Book  of  Sanskrit,  Bombay, 
1877  ;  text,  notes,  vocabulary,  Kellner,  1885  ;  text,  trans.,  vocab., 
Monier- Williams,  Oxford,  1876.  On  the  Puranas  in  general,  con- 
sult introd.  of  H.  H.  Wilson's  trans,  of  the  Vishi.iu  P.,  5  vols., 
ed.  Fitzedward  Hall,  1864-70;  Holtzmann,  op.  at.,  vol.  iv.  pp. 
29-58;  Garuda  P.,  ed.  Bombay,  1888;  ed.  Vidyasagara,  Calc, 
1 89 1  ;  Agni,  ed.  R.  Mitra,  Bibl.  Ind.,  1870-79,  J.  Vidyasagara, 
Calc,  1882;  Vdyu,  ed.  R.  Mitra,  Bibl.  Ind.,  1888;  Bombay, 
1895  ;  Matsya,  Bombay,  1895;  Kur??ia,  Bibl.  Ind.,  1890;  Mar- 
kandeya,  ed.  Bibl.  Ind.,  1855-62 ;  trans,  by  Pargiter,  Bibl.  Ind., 
1888-99,  by  C.  C.  Mukharji,  Calc,  1894;  Padma,  ed.  V.  N. 
Mandlik,  4  vols.,  Anand.  Ser.,  1894;  Vishnu,  ed.  with  comm., 
Bombay,  1887 ;  five  parts,  Calc,  1888;  prose  trans,  by  M.  N.  Dutt., 
Calc,  1894  ;  Wilson,  op.  cit.  ;  Bhdgavata,  ed.  with  three  comm., 
3  vols.,  Bombay,  1887  ;  2  vols.,  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press,  Bombay, 
1894;  ed.  and  trans,  by  Burnouf,  4  vols.,  Paris,  1840-47,  1884; 
Brahma,  ed.  Anand.  Ser.,  1895;  Vardha,  Bibl.  •Ind.,  1887-93.^ 
On  the  Rdmdyana  in  general,  consult  Jacobi,  Das  Rdmdyana 
Bonn,    1893  ;   also  Journal  of  the   Germ.    Or    Soc,  vol.   xlviii. 


p.  407  ff.,  vol.  li.  p.  605  ff.  •  Ludwig,  Ueber  das  Rd?ndyai.ia, 
Prag,  1894;  Baumgartner,  Das  Rdmdyana,  Freiburg  i  B.,  1894; 
Bombay  recension,  ed.  Gorresio,  Turin,  1843-67 \  with  three 
comm.,  3  vols.,  Bombay,  1895  ;  Bengal  recension,  Calc,  1859-60 ; 
trans,  by  Griffith  into  Eng.  verse,  Benares,  1895 ;  into  Eng.  prose, 
M.  N.  Dutt,  Calc,  1894. 


On  the  age  of  Kavya  poetry  consult  especially  Biihler,  Die 
indischen  Jnschriften  und  das  Alter  der  indischen  Kunstpoesie, 
in  Trans,  of  the  Imp.  Vienna  Academy,  Vienna,  1890;  Fleet, 
Corpus  Inscr.  I//d.,  vol.  iii.,  Calcutta,  1888.  On  the  Vikrama 
era  see  Kielhorn,  Gotti?iger  Nachrichten,  1891,  pp.  179-182,  and 
on  the  Malava  era,  Ind.  Ant,  xix.  p.  316;  on  the  chronology 
of  Kalidasa,  Huth,  Die  Zeit  des  Kdliddsa,  Berlin,  1890.  Buddha- 
charita,  ed.  Cowell,  Oxford,  1893  ;  trans,  by  Cowell,  Sacred 
Books,  vol.  xlix.  Raghuvam$a,  ed.  Stenzler,  with  Latin  trans., 
London,  1832  j  ed.  with  Mallinatha's  comm.,  by  S.  P.  Pandit, 
Bombay  Sansk.  Ser.  ;  text  with  Eng.  trans,  by  Jvalaprasad, 
Bombay,  1895  j  ed.  K.  P.  Parab,  with  Mallinatha,  Nirnaya  Sagara 
Pr.,  Bombay,  1892  j  i.-vii.,  with  Eng.  trans.,  notes,  comm.  of  Mal- 
linatha, and  extracts  from  comm.  of  Bhatta  Hemadri,  Charitra- 
vardhana,  Vallabha,  by  G.  R.  Nangargika,  Poona,  1896.  Kumdra- 
samfr/iava,  ed.  with  Latin  trans,  by  Stenzler,  London,  1838; 
cantos  i.-vi.,  ed.  with  Eng.  trans,  and  comm.  of  Mallinatha,  by 
S.  G.  Despande,  Poona,  1887  ;  second  part,  with  full  comm.,  ed. 
by  J.  Vidyasagara,  4th  ed.,  Calc,  1887  \  ed.  with  comm.  of 
Mallinatha  (i.-vii.)  and  of  Sltaram  (viii.-xvii.),  3rd  ed.,  Nirnaya 
Sagara  Press,  Bombay,  1893;  ed.  with  three  commentaries, 
Bombay,  1898;  trans,  by  Griffith,  London,  1879.  Bhattikdvya, 
ed.  Calc,  1628  ;  cantos  i.-v.,  with  comm.  of  Jayamangala, 
English  trans.,  notes,  glossary,  by  M.  R.  Kale,  Bombay, 
1897  ;  with  comm.  of  Mallinatha  and  notes  by  K.  P.  Trivedi, 
Bombay  Sansk.  Ser.,  2  vols.,  1898;  German  trans,  of  xviii.-xxii., 
by  Schiitz,  Bielefeld,  1837.     Kirdtdrjuniya,  ed.  by  J.  Vidyasagara, 


Calc,  1875  ;  with  Mallinatha's  comm.,  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press, 
Bombay,  1885;  cantos  i.-ii.,  trans,  by  Schiitz,  Bielefeld,  1843. 
£icupdlavadha,  ed.  with  Mallinatha's  comm.,  by  Vidyasagara, 
1884  ;  also  at  Benares,  1883  ;  German  trans,  by  Schiitz,  cantos 
i.-ix;,  Bielefeld,  1843.  Naishadhlya-charita,  ed.  with  comm.  of 
Narayana,  by  Pandit  Sivadatta,  Bombay,  1894.  Aalodaya,  ed. 
Vidyasagara,  Calc,  1873  ;  German  trans,  by  Shack,  in  Stimmen 
vom  Ganges ;  2nd  ed.,  1877;  Rdg/iavapdndaviya,  ed.  with  comm. 
in  the  Kdvyamdld,  No.  62.  Dhanamjaya's  Rdghavapdndaviya, 
quoted  in  Ganaratnamahodadhi,  a.d.  1140,  is  an  imitation  of 
Kaviraja's  work  :  cf.  Zachariae  in  Biihler's  Encyclopedia,  pp.  27-28. 
For  a  modern  Sanskrit  drama  constructed  on  a  similar  princi- 
ple see  Scherman's  Orientalische  Bibliographies  vol.  ix.,  1896,  p. 
258,  No.  4605.  Haravijaya,  ed.  in  Kdvyamdld,  1890 ;  see  Biihler, 
Detailed  Report,  p.  43,  Bombay,'  1877.  Navasahasdnkacharita,  ed. 
Bombay  Sansk.  Series,  1895  ;  see  Biihler  and  Zacharise  in  Trans. 
of  Vienna  Acad.,  1888.  Setubandha  (in  the  Maharashtri  dialect), 
ed.  with  trans,  by  S.  Goldschmidt,  1884;  ed.  in  Kdvyamdld, 
No.  47,  Bombay,  1895.  Vdsavadatta,  ed.  with  introd.  by  Fitz- 
edward  Hall,  Bibl.  Ind.,  1859  ;  ed.  with  comm.  by  J.  Vidyasagara, 
Calc,  1874.  Kddambart,  ed.  P.  Peterson,  Bomb.  Sansk.  Ser.,  1889; 
ed.  with  comm.  in  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press,  Bombay,  1896;  with 
comm.  and  notes  by  M.  R.  Kale,  Poona,  1896;  trans.,  with 
occasional  omissions,  by  C.  M.  Ridding,  Royal  As.  Soc, 
London,  1896.  Harshacharita,  ed.  by  J.  Vidyasagara,  Calc, 
1883  ;  ed.  with  comm.,  Jammu,  1S79  ;  Bombay,  1892  ;  trans,  by 
Cowell  and  Thomas,  Roy.  As.  Soc.  London,  1897.  Dafakumdra- 
charita,  Part  i.,  ed.  Biihler,  Bomb.  Sansk.  Ser.,  2nd  ed.,  1888; 
Part  ii.,  P.  Peterson,  ibid.,  1891 ;  ed.  P.  Banerji,  Calc,  1888. 


Meghaduta,  ed.  with  vocab.  by  Stenzler,  Breslau,  1874;  with 
comm.  of  Mallinatha,  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press,  Bombay,  1894;  ed. 
by  K.  B.  Pathak,  Poona,  1894.  Eng.  verse  trans,  by  Wilson,  3rd 
ed.,  London,  1867  j  by  T.  Clark,  London,  1882;  into  German  by 


Max  Miiller,  Konigsberg,  1847,  by  Schiitz,  Bielefield,  1859,  Fritze, 
Chemnitz,  1879.  Ritusamhara,  ed.  with  Latin  and  German 
trans,  by  P.  v.  Bohlen,  Leipsic,  1840 ;  with  notes  and  Eng.  trans, 
by  Sitaram  Ayyar,  Bombay,  1897.  Ghataharpara,  ed.  Brockhaus, 
1 84 1,  trans,  into  German  by  Hofer  (in  Indische  Gedichte,  vol.  ii.). 
Chaurapanchdfika,  ed.  and  trans,  into  German  by  Solf,  Kiel, 
1886;  trans,  by  Edwin  Arnold,  London,  1896.  Bhartrihari's 
Centuries,  ed.  with  comm.,  Bombay,  1884,  trans,  into  Eng.  verse 
by  Tawney,  Calc.,  1877  ;  fringdra-fataha,  ed.  Calc.  1888. 
Cringdratilaka,  ed.  Gildemeister,  Bonn,  1841.  Amarufataka,  ed. 
R.  Simon,  Kiel,  1893.  Saptacataka  of  Hala,  ed.  with  prose 
German  trans,  by  Weber,  Leipsic,  1881  (in  Abhandlungen  filr 
die  Kunde  des  Morgenlandes,  vol.  viii.,  No.  4).  Mayura's  Surya- 
fataha,  or  Hundred  Stanzas  in  praise  of  the  Sun,  ed.  in 
Kdvya?ndldi  1889.  Gltagovinda,  ed.  J.  Vidyasagara,  Calc,  1882  ; 
Bombay,  Nir.  Sag.  Pr.,  1899  ;  trans,  into  German  by  Riickert, 
vol.  i.  o(  Abhandlungen  filr  die  Kunde  des  Morgenlandes,  Leipsic. 


On  the  Sanskrit  drama  in  general,  consult  especially  H.  H. 
Wilson,  Select  Specimens  of  the  Theatre  of  the  Hindus,  2  vols., 
3rd  ed.,  London,  1871;  Sylvain  Levi,  Le  Theatre  Indien,  Paris, 
1890.  Cahuntald,  Bengal  recension,  ed.  by  Pischel,  Kiel,  1877; 
Devanagarl,  recension,  Monier-Williams,  2nd  ed.,  Oxford,  1876 ;  M. 
R.  Kale,  Bombay,  1898;  trans,  by  Monier-Williams,  6th  ed.,  Lon- 
don, 1894  ;  into  German  by  Riickert,  Leipsic,  1876  ;  Fritze,  1876  ; 
Lobedanz,  7th  ed.,  Leipsic,  1884;  there  are  also  a  South  Indian 
and  a  Kashmir  recension  (cf  Biihler,  Report,  p.  lxxxv).  Vikramor- 
vafl,  ed.  S.  P.  Pandit,  Bombay,  1879  ;  Vaidya,  1895  ;  South  Indian 
recension,  ed.  Pischel,  1875  ;  trans.  Wilson,  op.  cit.;  Cowell,  Hert- 
ford, 185 1 ;  Fritze,  Leipsic,  1880.  Mdlavikdgnimitra,  ed.  Bollensen, 
Leipsic,  1879;  S.  P.  Pandit,  Bombay,  1869,  S.  S.  Ayyar,  Poona, 
1896;  trans,  by  Tawney,  2nd  ed.,  Calc,  1891 ;  into  German  by 
Weber,  Berlin,  1856;  Fritze,  Leipsic,  1881.  Mricchakatikd,  ed. 
Stenzler,   Bonn,    1847;  J.  Vidyasagara,    2nd  ed.,    Calc,    1891  ; 


trans,  by  Wilson,  op.  cit. ;  into  German  by  Bohtlingk,  St.  Peters- 
burg, 1877  ;  by  Fritze,  Chemnitz,  1879.  Ratndvali,  ed.  Cappeller, 
in  Bohtlingk's  Sanskrit-  Chrestomathie,  1897;  with  comm.  Nir.  Sag. 
Pr.,  Bombay,  1895  J  trans,  by  Wilson,  op.  cit. ;  into  German  by  Fritze, 
Chemnitz,  1878.  Ndgdnanda,  ed.  J.  Vidyasagara,  Calc.,  1873; 
ed.  Poona,  1893  ;  trans,  by  Palmer  Boyd,  with  preface  by  Cowell, 
London,  1872.  Bana's  Pdrvatiparinaya,  ed.  with  trans,  by 
T.  R.  R.  Aiyar,  Kumbakonam,  1898;  Germ,  by  Glaser,  Trieste, 
1886.  Mdlatimddhava,  ed.  R.  G.  Bhandarkar,  Bombay,  1876; 
trans,  by  Wilson,  op.  cit.;  by  Fritze,  Leipsic,  1884.  Mahavira- 
charita,  ed.  Trithen,  London,  1848;  K.  P.  Parab,  Bombay,  1892  ; 
trans,  by  J.  Pickford,  London,  187 1.  Uttararamacharita,  ed. 
with  comm.  and  trans.,  Nagpur,  1895  ;  ed.  with  comm.  by  Aiyar 
and  Parab,  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press,  1899 ;  trans,  by  Wilson,  op.  cit. 
Mudrdrdkshasa,  ed.  Telang,  Bombay,  1893;  trans,  by  Wilson, 
op.  cit.;  into  German  by  Fritze,  Leipsic,  1887.  Venlsamhdra, 
ed.  K.  P.  Parab,  Nirnaya  Sagara  Press,  Bombay,  1898; 
N.  B.  Godabale,  Poona,  1895;  Grill,  Leipsic,  187 1;  trans, 
into  English  by  S.  M.  Tagore,  Calc,  1880.  Viddha$dlabhan- 
jika,  ed.  J.  Vidyasagara,  Calc,  1883.  Karpuramanjarl,  ed.  in 
vol.  vii.  of  The  Pandit,  Benares.  B alar dmdy ana,  ed.  Govinda 
Deva  £astri,  Benares,  1869;  J.  Vidyasagara,  Calc,  1884. 
Prachandapdndava,  ed.  Cappeller,  Strasburg,  1885.  (On  Raja- 
^ekhara,  cf.  Kielhorn,  Epigr.  Ind.,  part  iv.  1889;  Fleet  in  Jnd. 
Antiq.,  vol.  xvi.  pp.  175-178  ;  Jacobi  in  Vienna  Or.  Journal,  vol.  ii. 
pp.  212-216).  Chandakau$ika,  ed.  J.  Vidyasagara,  Calcutta, 
1884  ;  trans,  by  Fritze  (Kaufika's  Zorn).  Prabodhachandrodaya, 
ed.  Nir.  Sag.  Pr.,  Bombay,  1898  ;  trans,  into  German  by  Gold- 
stiicker,  with  preface  by  Rosenkranz,  Konigsberg,  1842  ;  also 
trans,  by  Hirzel,  Zurich,  1846;  Taylor,  Bombay,  1886. 


Panchatantra,  ed.  Kosegarten,  Bonn,  1848 ;  by  Kielhorn  and 
Buhler  in  Bomb.  Sansk.  Ser.;  these  two  editions  represent  two  con- 
siderably divergent  recensions ;  trans,  with  very  valuable  introd. 
by  Benfey,  2  vols.,  Leipsic,  1859  ;  English  trans.,  Trichinopoli, 


1887;  German  by  Fritze,  Leipsic,  1884.  The  abstract  of  the 
Panchatantra  in  Kshemendra's  Brihatkathamanjarl,  introd, 
text,  trans.,  notes,  by  Mankowski,  Leipsic,  1892.  Hitopade$a, 
ed.  F.  Johnson,  London,  1884  ;  P.  Peterson  in  Bomb.  Sansk. 
Ser.  Kamandaklya  Nttisdra,  ed.  with  trans,  and  notes,  Madras, 
1895  ;  text  ed.  by  R.  Mitra,  Bibl.  Jnd.  Calc,  1884.  Civadasa's 
VetalapancJiavim$atika,  ed.  H.  Uhle  (in  Abhandlungen  der 
deuischen  morgenl.  Gescll.  vol.  viii.,  No.  1),  Leipsic,  1881.  Sir  R. 
F.  Burton,  Vikram  and  the  Vampire,  new  ed.,  London,  1893. 
Simhdsana-dvatrimfikd,  ed.  (Dwalringshat  puttalika),  J.  Vidya- 
sagara,  Calc,  1881.  fukasaptaii,  ed.  R.  Schmidt,  Leipsic,  1893 
(Abh.  f.  d.  Kunde  d.  Morgenlandes),  Munich,  1898;  trans.,  Kiel, 
1894;  Stuttgart,  1898.  Kathdsaritsdgara,ed.  Brockhaus, 
Leipsic  (Books  i.-v.)  1839,  (vi.-xviii.)  1862-66;  ed.  Bomb.,  1889; 
trans,  by  Tawney  in  Bibl.  Ind.,  1880-87.  Brihatkathamanjarl, 
chaps,  i. — viii.,  ed.  and  trans,  by  Sylvain  Levi  in  Journal  Asiatique, 
1886.  Jdtaka-mala,  ed.  Kern,  Boston,  1891  ;  trans,  by  Speijer 
in  Sacred  Books  of  the  Buddhists,  vol.  i.,  London,  1895.  Katha- 
hofa,  trans,  by  C.  H.  Tawney  from  Sanskrit  MSS.,  Royal  As. 
Soc,  London,  1895.  Pali  Jatakas,  ed.  by  Fausboll,  London, 
(completed)  1897  ;  three  vols,  of  trans,  under  supervision  of 
Cowell  have  appeared,  I.  by  Chalmers,  Cambridge,  1895  ;  II.  by 
Rouse,  1895  ;  III.  by  Francis  and  Neil,  1897.  Warren,  Buddhism 
in  Translations,  Harvard,  1896.  Bhartrihari's  Nlti  and  Vairdgya 
(jatakas,  ed.  and  trans.,  Bombay,  1898  (on  Bhartrihari  and 
Kumarila  see  Pathak  vajourn.  of  Bombay  Branch  of  Roy.  As.  Soc., 
xviii.  pp.  213-238).  Mohamudgara,  trans,  by  U.  K.  Banerji', 
Bhawanipur,  Bengal,  1892.  Chdnakya  Calakas,  ed.  Klatt,  1873. 
On  the  Nitimanjari  cf.  Kielhorn,  Gbttinger  Aachrichten,  1 891,  pp. 
182-186  ;  A.  B.  Keith,  Journ.  Roy.  As.  Soc.  1900.  £arngadhara- 
paddhatit  ed.  Peterson,  Bombay,  1888.  Subhdshitavall,  ed. 
Peterson  and  Durgaprasada,  Bombay,  1886.  Bohtlingk's  In- 
dische  Spriiche,  2nd  edition,  2  vols.,  St.  Petersburg,  1870-73  ; 
index  by  Blau,  Leipsic,  1893.  Dhdmmapada,  trans,  by  Max 
Miiller  in  Sacred  Books  of  the  East,  vol.  x.,  2nd  revised  edition, 
Oxford,  1898. 



On  Indian  philosophy  in  general  see  Garbe's  useful  little  book, 
Philosophy  of  Ancient  India,  Chicago,  1897 ;  F.  Max  Miiller,  Six 
Systems  of  Indian  Philosophy \  London,  1899.  Garbe,  Sankhya 
Philosophies  Leipsic,  1894;  Sankhya  und  Yoga  in  Biihler's  En- 
cyclopaedia, Strasburg,  1896  (complete  bibliography);  Sankhya- 
karika,  text  with  comm.  of  Gaudapada,  ed.  and  trans,  by  Cole- 
brooke  and  Wilson,  Oxford,  1837,  reprinted  Bombay,  1887  ;  ed. 
in  Benares  Sansk.  Ser.,  1883;  trans.  Ballantyne  (Bib/.  Ind.) ; 
Sdnkhyapravachana-bhdshya,  ed.  by  Garbe,  Harvard,  1895, 
trans,  into  German,  Leipsic,  1889;  Aniruddha's  comm.  on 
Sankhya  Sutras,  trans,  by  Garbe,  Bibl.  Ind.,  Calc,  1888-92; 
Sdnkhya-tattva-kaumudJ,  ed.  with  Eng.  trans.,  Bombay,  1896, 
trans,  by  Garbe,  Munich,  1892;  £ankara's  Rdjayogabhashya, 
trans.  Madras,  1896;  Svatmarama's  Hathayogapradipa,  trans,  by 
Walther,  Munich,  1893;  Hathayoga  Gheranda  Sanhita,  trans. 
Bombay,  1895.  On  fragments  of  Panchacikha  cf.  Garbe  in 
Festgruss  an  Roth,  p.  74  if.,  Stuttgart,  1893 ;  Jacobi  on  Sankhya- 
Yoga  as  foundation  of  Buddhism,  Journ.  of  Germ.  Or.  Soc, 
1898,  pp.  1-15  ;  Oldenberg,  Buddha,  3rd  ed.  Mlmamsa- 
dar$ana,  ed.  with  comm.  of  £abara  Svamin  {Bibl.  Ind.),  Calc, 
1887;  Tantravarttika,  ed.  Benares,  1890;  £lokavarttika,  fasc. 
i.,  ii.,  ed.  with  comm.,  Benares,  189S;  Jaiminiya-nydya-mald- 
vistara,  ed.  in  Anand.  Ser.  1892.  Arthasamgraha,  as  introd.  to 
Mimamsa,  ed.  and  trans,  by  Thibaut,  Benares,  1882.  Most  im- 
portant book  on  Vedanta  :  Deussen,  System  des  Vedanta,  Leipsic, 
1883;  Deussen,  Die  Sutrds  des  Vedanta,  text  with  trans,  of 
Sutras  and  complete  comm.  of  £ankara,  Leipsic,  1887.  Brahma 
Sutras,  with  £ankara's  comm.,  ed.  in  Anand.  Ser.,  1890-91 ; 
Vedanta  Sutras,  trans,  by  Thibaut  in  Sacred  Books,  vol.  xxxiv., 
Oxford,  1890,  and  xxxviii.,  1896.  Panchadafi,  ed.  with  Eng. 
trans.,  Bombay,  1895.  On  date  of  £ankara  cf  Fleet  in  Ind.  Ant., 
xvi.  41-42.  Veddnta-siddhdnta-muktdvall,  ed.  with  Eng.  trans,  by 
Venis,  Benares,  1890.  Veddntasdra,  ed.  Jacob,  with  comm.  and 
notes,  Bombay,  1894,  trans.  3rd  ed.,  London,  1892.    Bhagavad- 


glta  with  £ankara's  comm.,  Anand.  Ser.,  1897,  trans,  in  Sacred 
Books,  vol.  viii.,  2nd  ed.,  Oxford,  1898;  by  Davies,  3rd  ed.,  1894. 
Nyaya  Sutras  in  Vizianagram  Sansk.  Ser.,  vol.  ix.,  Benares, 
1896.  Nyayakandali  of  £rldhara,  ibid.,  vol.  iv.,  1895.  Nyaya- 
kusumanjali  (Bib/.  2nd.),  Calc,  1895.  Vai^eshika-darfana,  ed. 
with  comm.,  Calc.,  1887.  Saptapadarthl,  ed.  with  comm., 
Benares,  1893;  text  with  Latin  trans,  by  Winter,  Leipsic,  1893. 
Tarkasamgraha,  ed.  J.  Vidyasagara,  Calc,  1897;  ed.  with  comm., 
Bombay  Sansk.  Ser.,  1897;  text  an(3  trans,  by  Ballantyne,  Alla- 
habad, 1850.  Sarvadarfana-samgraha,  ed.  by  T.  Tarkavachaspati, 
Calc,  1872;  trans,  by  Cowell  and  Gough,  2nd  ed.,  London, 


M'Crindle,  Ancient  India  as  Described  by  Classical  Authors,  5 
vols.,  especially  vol.  v.,  Invasion  of  India  by  Alexander,  London, 
1896.  Weber,  Die  Griechen  in  Indien,  in  Transactions  (Sitzungs- 
berichte)  of  the  Roy.  Prussian  Acad.,  Berlin,  1890..  oylvain  Levi, 
Quid  de  Gratis  veterum  Indorum  monumenta  tradiderint,  Paris, 
1890  ;  also  La  Grece  et  Vlnde  (in  Revue  des  Etudes  Grecques),  Paris, 
1 89 1.  Goblet  dAlviella,  Ce  que  Vlnde  doit  a  la  Grece,  Paris, 
1897  ;  also  Les  Grecs  dans  Vlnde,  and  Des  Influences  Classiques 
dans  la  Culture  Scientifique  et  Litter  aire  de  Vlnde,  in  vols,  xxxiii., 
xxxiv.  (1897)  of  Bulletin  de  VAcademie  Roy  ale  de  Belgique.  L.  de 
la  Vallee  Poussin,  La  Grece  et  Vlnde,  in  Musee  Beige,  vol.  ii. 
pp.  126-152.  Vincent  A.  Smith,  Grceco-Roman  Influence  on  the 
Civilisation  of  Ancient  India  in  Journal  of  As.  Soc.  of  Bengal, 
1889-92.  O.  Franke,  Beziehungen  der  Inder  zum  Westen, 
Journ.  of  Germ.  Or.  Soc,  1893,  pp.  595-609.  M.  A.  Stein 
in  Indian  Antiquary,  vol.  xvii.  p.  89.  On  foreign  elements  in 
Indian  art  see  Cunningham,  Archaeological  Survey  of  India, 
vol.  v.  pp.  185  ff '  ;  Grunwedel,  Buddhistische  Kunst,  Berlin, 
1893  ;  E.  Curtius,  Griechische  Kunst  in  Indien,  pp.  235-243  in 
vol.  ii.  of  Gesammelte  Abhandlungen,  Berlin,  1894;  W.  Simpson, 
The  Classical  Influence  in  the  Architecture  of  the  Indus  Region 
and  Afghanistan,  in  the,  Journal  of  the  Royal  Institution  of  British 


Architects,  vol.  i.  (1894),  pp.  93-115.  P.  413  :  On  the  £akas  and 
Kushanas,  see  Rapson,  Indian  Coins,  pp.  7  and  16,  in  Biihler's 
Encyclopaedia,  Strasburg,  1898.  On  the  relation  of  Indian 
to  Greek  fables,  cf.  Weber  in  Indische  Studien,  vol.  iii.  p.  327  ff. 
Through  the  medium  of  Indian  fables  and  fairy  tales,  which  were 
so  popular  in  the  Middle  Ages,  the  magic  mirror  and  ointment, 
the  seven-league  boots,  the  invisible  cap,  and  the  purse  of 
Fortunatus  {cf.  Burnell,  Sdmavidhana  Frdhmana,  preface,  p. 
xxxv),  found  their  way  into  Western  literature.  For  possible 
Greek  influence  on  Indian  drama,  cf.  Windisch,  in  Trans,  of 
the  Fifth  Oriental  Congress,  part  ii.,  Berlin,  1882.  On  chess  in 
Sanskrit  literature,  cf.  Macdonell,  Origin  and  Early  History  of 
Chess,  in  Jonrn.  Roy.  As.  Soc,  1898.  On  Indian  influence  on 
Greek  philosophy,  cf  Garbe  in  Sdnkhya  und  Yoga,  p.  4. 
L.  von  Schroeder,  Buddhismus  und  Christenthwn,  Reval,  2nd 
ed.,  1898.  P.  422-23:  It  seems  quite  possible  to  account  for 
the  ideas  of  the  Neo-Platonists  from  purely  Hellenic  sources, 
without  assuming  Indian  influence.  On  the  relation  of  Cakuntald 
to  Schiller  (Alpenjager)  and  Goethe  (Faust),  cf.  Sauer,  in  Korre- 
spondenzblatt  fiir  die  Gelehrten  und  Realschulen  Wurttembergs,  vol. 
xl.  pp.  297-304;  W.  von  Biedermann,  Goetheforschungen,  Frankfurt 
a/M.,  1879,  pp.  54  ff.  (Cakuntald  and  Faust).  On  Sanskrit 
literature  and  modern  poets  (Heine,  Matthew  Arnold),  cf  Max 
M tiller,  Coincidences,  in  the  Fortnightly  Review,  New  Series,  vol. 
lxiv.  (July  1898),  pp.  157-162. 





Abhidhdna-chintdmani,  433 
Abhidhdna-ratnamdld,  433 
Aborigines,  113,  152,  161,  387 
Absolute,  the,  220 
Abstract  deities,  1 00- 1 02 
Accent,  Vedic,  53-54 
Achaemenid  dynasty  in  India,  408 
Agoka,  310,  412  ;  inscriptions  of,  14, 

Actors,  Greek,  414 
Acvaghosha,  319 
Acvakas,  408,  409 
Acvalayana,  52,  191,  274;  his  Crauta 

Sutra,  245  ;  Grihya  Sutra,  249 
Acvins,  84,  123,  150 
Adbhuta  Brdhmana,  2IO 
Aditi,  70,  102,  103,  105,  132 
Adityas,  102,  103,  105 
^Esop,  420 
Agni,   70,  71,  74,   93-97,   102,   105, 

124,  125,  135,  172,  214 
Agohya,  106 
Agriculture,  166 
Ahargana,  426 
Ahi  budhnya,  HO 
Ahura,  1 12 
Aitareya   Aranyaka,   51,    208,    211  ; 

Brdhmana,    155,     156,     163,    203, 

205  ;   Upanishad,  209,  226-227 
Ajatagatru,  222 
Alata,  434 

Alberuni,  13,  18,  413 
Alexander  the  Great,  I,  2,  8,  13,  18, 

150,  154,  165,  365,  410,  413,  4H 
Alexandria,  415,  423 

Algebra,  Indian,  424,  434 

Allegorical  play,  367 

Alphabet,  arrangement  of  the  Sans- 
krit, 17 

Al-Razi,  427 

Amara-lco^a,  433 

Amara  simha,  324,  433 

Amaru,  342 

Anaxagoras,  422 

Ancestor  worship,  257 

Anehdrtha-samgrahq,  433 

Anekdrtha-samuchchaya,  433 

Angas,  156,  195 

Angirases,  108,  189,  190 

Animals,  domestic,  149  ;  mytholo- 
gical, 109 

Aniruddha,  394 

Anthologies,  379 

Anthropology,  126 

Anthropomorphism,  71,    72,  84,  86, 

Anuddtta  accent,  54 
Anukramanis,  39,  52,  267,  271-272, 

Anus,  153,  154 
Anushtubh  metre,  56,  68 
Anvdr-i-Suhaili,  418 
Apabhramca  dialect,  27,  349 
Apam  napat,  88,  92 
Apastamba,   246,  258-259,   302  ;  his 

Crauta  Sutra,  246  ;  Grihya  Sutra, 

250 ;  Dharma  Sutra,   258  ;  Kalpa 

Sutra,  258 
Apastambas,  176 
Apollonius  of  Tyana,  415 



Apsaras,  107  ;  Apsarases,  182 

Arabian  Nights,  368 

Arabs,  1,  421,  424,  425,  426,  427 

Aranyakas,  34,  50,  204 

AranyanI,  III 

Architecture,  158,  437 

Ardha-magadhi,  27 

Argumentum  ex  silentio,  16,  150 

Arithmetic,  Indian,  424 

Arjuna,  165,  2 1 6,  296,  405 

Arjuna  Miora,  290 

Army,  divisions  of,  165 

Arnold,  Sir  Edwin,  427 

Arsheya  Brahmana,  209 

Arsheya- Jcalpa,  245 

Art,  Indian,  436-437 

Aruni,  213,  214 

Aryd  metre,  307,  393,  435 

Aryabhata,  325,  426,  435 

Aryabhat'iya,  435 

Aryan   civilisation,    9  ;    invasion   of 

India,  40,  408 
Aryans,  home  of  Rigvedic,  145 
Aryas,  152 
Aryavarta,  23 
Asat,  136 

Asceticism,  184,  397,  410 
Ashtdngahridaya,  436 
Asiatic  Society  of  Bengal,  3 
Asikni,  140,  144,  155 
Astronomers,  Indian,   13,   425,   426, 

434-435  J  Arab>  426 
Astronomical  data,  195,  325 
Astronomy,  Greek  and  Indian,  425 
Asura,  112,  1 13 
Asuras,  182 
Asuri,  215 
Atharvaveda,  30,  31,   185-201,  2c6  ; 

various  readings  of,   187  ;    Upani- 

shads  of,  238-243 
Atharvdnyirasah,  189 
Atharvans,  189 
Atman,  205,  218-222 
Aufrecht,  T.,  431,  433 

Augury,  120,  222-223 

Avanti  dialect,  27 

Avatars,  81,  30c,  411 

Avesta,  12,  43,  55,  63,  67,  68,  87,  88, 

99,    100,    108,  no,  112,  113,  118, 

141,  165,  216,  253 
Avicenna,  427 
Avidyd,  389,  401 
Ayodhya  (Oudh),  157,  176,  214,  305, 


Babrius,  420 

Badarayana,  240,  402 

Balaki  Gargya,  222 

Balhikas,  195 

Balibandha,  347 

Bana,   20,  288,  318,   321,  332,   362, 

413*  421,  429 
Banyan,  147 
Bardesanes,  423 

Barlaam  and  Josaphat,  419,  420 
Barley,  145 
Barygaza,  415 
Barzol,  417 

Battle  of  ten  kings,  154 
Baudhayana,  246,  259  ;  Crauta  Sutra, 

246  ;    Grihya  Sutra,  250  ;  Dharma 

Sutra,  259  ;  Kalpa  Sutra,  259 
Bear,  148 
Beef,  no,  164 
Benares,  27,  222 
Benfey,  Prof.  Theodor,  173,  420 
Bhagavadgitd,  2,  283,  288,  405 
Bhdgavata  Purdna,  402  ;  popularity 

of,  302 
Bhtigavatas,  402 
Bhaguri,  273 
Bhahti,  403 
Bharadvaja,  his  Crauta  Sutra,  246 ; 

Grihya  Sutra,  250 
Bharata,  216,  347 
Bhdrata-manjarl,  290 
Bharatas,  154,  155,  156,  175 
Bharati,  155 




Bharavi,  318,  329 

Bhartrihari,    I,   329,   340,   378,    381, 

382,  431 
BhdsJid,  22 
Bhaskaracharya,  435 
Bhatta  Narayana,  365 
Bhattikdvya,  329 
Bhattoji,  432 
Bhattotpala,  435 
Bhavabhuti,  352^  353,  362-365 
Bhoja,  20,  304,  366 
Bhrigus,  108,  154,  189 
Bidpai,  fables  of,  417 
Bilhana,  339 
Birch  bark  MSS.,  iS 
Black  Yajurveda,  177,  179,  180 
Blackskins,  152 

Bloomfield,  Professor,  186,  189 
Boar,  148,  302 
Boats,  167 
Bodleian  Library,  18 
Bohtlingk,  Otto  von,  379,  431,  433, 

434 ;  and  Roth's  Dictionary,  63 
Bopp,  Franz,  4 

Brahma,  133,  205,  219,  220,  223 
Brahma,  32,  182,  195,  401,  402 
Brahma,  93,   101,  102,  194,  285,  401, 

Brahma  (priest),   102,  161,  194,  195, 

Brahmachdrin,  200 
Brahmagupta,  426,  435 
Brahma-mimdmsd,  400 
Brahmans,  17,  23,  73,   122,  183,  197, 

409,  411,  415,  425,430 
Brdhmana,  161 
Brahmanas,  31,  32,  33,  48,  49,  73,  81, 

88,  93,  96,  99,  101,  105,  107,   112, 

1 17.  133,  145.  *56,  162,  189,  190, 

195,  I96»  202-218 
Brahmanism,  7 

Brahma  Sphuta-siddhdnta,  435 
Bi'ahma-sutras,  402,  403 
Brahmavarta,  141,  155,  175 

Brahma-veda,  1S9,  195 

Brahma-vidyd,  195 

Brdhml  writing,  15,  17,  18 

Brahmodya,  131 

Brihaddranyaka      Upaniahad,     213, 

219,  221,  222,  223,  224,  234-238 
Brlli addevata,  272,  273,  281,  378 
Brihadratha,  230 
Brihajjdtaka,  435 
Brihaspati,  102;  sutras  of,  406 
Brihatkathd,  376 
Brihatkathd-mavjarl,  376 
Brihatsamhitd,  318,  435 
Broach  (town),  415 
Bronze,  151 
Buddha,    II,    13,    15,   24,   215,    225, 

3°8,  309,  362,  387,  406,  421  ;  as  a 

Christian  saint,  420 
Buddhacharita,  319 
Buddhism,   7,   II,  25,  115,215,223, 

230,  322,  369,  386,  390,  395-396, 

397,  412,  414,  427 
Buddhist  councils,  15,  308,  369,  413  ; 

influence,  375  ;  literature,  156,  295, 

3c5,  3°7,  369,  379,  384,411,412, 

436  ;  pilgrims,  13  ;  sculptures,  377, 

Buddhists,  184,  286,  287,  308,  41 1 
Biihler,  Professor,  6,  15,  16,  1 7,  186, 

259,  290,  322,  376 
Bunder-log,  149 
Burial,  125 
Burnell,  A.  C,  194,  290,  428' 

Cabara  Svamin,  400 
Cacvata,  433 
Caka  era,  413 
Cakalas,  52,  53 
^akalya,  50,  51,  268,  270 
Cakas;  286,  322,  323,  412,  413 
Cakatayana,  268  ;  pseudo-,  432 
Qakuntald,  3,  216,  283,  301,  348,  350, 

352,  353,  354-358,  416 
Cakyas,  215 



Calderon,  367 

Cdmbavya,  Sutra,  249 

Canarese,  18,  28 

Candilya,  213 

Qankara,  240,    242,   289,  394,   402 ; 

(Civa)  182 
Cankha  and  Likhita,  262 
Cdnkhdyana    Brdhrnana,    205,    206 ; 

Sutra,  49,  191,  205,  245,  249 
Cankhayanas,  252 
(Jdntiqataka,  378 
Cantor,  424,  434 
Carngadhara's  Paddhati,  379 
Carvavarman,  432 
Caste,  20,  21,  33,  34,  133,  152,  160, 

161,  184 
Catalogues  of  MSS.,  6 
Qatapatha    Brdhrnana,    49,    53,    54 

w.,   107,  108,   no,    144,  155,   172, 

179,   180,  188,  191,  203,  206,  212- 

Categories,  logical,  403,  404 
Cattle,  127,  147,  166 
Caunaka,  51,  186,  271,  274 
QaurasenI  dialect,  27 
Ceylon,  25,  361,  412 
Chakravdka,  150,  343 
Chdnakya-gataka,  378 
Chanda-kaugika,  366 
Chandra,  432 
Chandragupta,  365,  410,    411,   412, 

413,  415 
Charaka,  medical   writer,   426,   427, 

43  5>  436 
Charaka  school,  215 
Charaka -sarnhitd,  436 
Charana-vyuha,  52,  275 
Charanas,  245 
Chariot  race,  150,  168 
Charitravardhana,  328 
Charvaka,    86,  405-407 
Chaturvarga-chintdmani,  430 
Chaurapanchdqikd,  339 
Chedis,  155,  157 

Chhandas  (metre),  264 
Chhdndogya  Brdhrnana,  210 
Chhdndogya    Upanishad,     189,    210, 

221,  223,  224,  228,  229,  420 
Chinese  works,  369  ;  pilgrims,  13 
Christianity,  414 

Chronological  strata,  179,  188,  203 
Chronology,    absence  of,   10;  Vedic, 

Ciqupdlavadha,  320 
Cilhana,  378 
Civa,  74,  89,  153,  178,  181,  182,217, 

234,  300,  41 1 
Cloka  metre,  56,  57,  279,  317 
Cloka-vdrttika,  400 
Clouds,  68,  69,  85,  109 
Coinage,  transition  to,  167 
Colebrooke,  H.  T.,  3,  4,  429,  430 
Colour  (caste),  86,  152,  161 
Comparative  mythology,  6,  427 
Comparative  philology,  6,  427 
Compound  words,  65,  332 
Copperplate  inscriptions,  18,  19 
Corn,  145 
Corpus  Inscriptionum  Indicarum,  14, 

Cosmical  illusion  (mdyd),  221,    395, 

401,  402 
Cosmogonic  hymns,  135-137,  200 
Cosmogony,  132 
Cosmology,  300 
Cow,  68,  85,  98,  102,  108,  109,  no, 

125,  149,  167 
Cowell,  Prof.  E.  B.,  432 
Cowkiller,  149 
Qraddha,  100 
iQraddha-kalpa,  257 
Qramana,  215,  41 1 
Crauta  ritual,  192,  247-249 
Crauta   Sutras,    36,     191,    244-249, 

QravastI,  309 

Creation,  song  of,  136-137 
Creator,  70,  132 



Cremation,  117,  125 

Cridharadasa,  379 

Qiiharsha,  330 

Crime,  163 

Qringdra-gataJca,  340-341 

(Jringdra-tilaka,  342,  434 

gruti,  34,  36,  205 

Cudraka,  361 

Cudras,  133,  153,  16  r 

Qukasaptati,  375-376 

Qulva  Sutras,  264,  424 

Cunahgepa,  legend  of,  207 

Curasenas,  175,  411 

Curlew,  150 

Curtain,  stage,  352,  415,  416 

Curtius,  Quintus,  18,  19 

Qushna,  114 

Cutudri  (Sutlej),  93,  140,  142,  154 

Qvetdqvatara    Upanishad,    221,   233- 

234,  405 
Cyrus,  408 

Daqakumdra-charita,  332 

Dagarupa,  434 

Dahlmann,  J.,  286 

Daksha,  132 

Dakshind,  149 

Damodara  Micra,  366 

Ddnastuti,  127,  188 

Dancing,  169 

Dandin,  320,  321,  329,  330,  332,  361, 

Darius,  408,  409 
Dasas,  113,  152,  161 
Dasyus,  113,  152,  153 
Daughters,  undesirable,  163,  208 
Dawn,  78,  81-83,  169 
Ddyabhdga,  430 
Debt,  163 
DegindmamcUd,  433 
Dekhan,  9,  28,  144,  429 
Deluge,  216,  294 
Demetrios,  412 
Demigods,  106-108 

Democritus,  422 

Demons,  68,  72,  85,  112,  113 

Deussen,  Professor,  242,  400 

Deva,  68 

Devaeravas,  155 

Devandgarl,  17 

Devatddhydya  Brdhmana,  211 

Devavata,  155 

Devaydna,  224 

Dhammapada,  379 

Dhanamjaya,  434 

Dhanvantari,  324 

Dharma,  37,  193 

Dharma-nibandhas,  429 

Dltarma-ratna,  430 

Dharma  Sutras,  37,  193,  194,  258- 
262,  428 

Dhatri,  101 

Dhdtupdtha,  431 

Dhavaka,  362 

Dialects  of  Sanskrit,  22,  23  ;  of 
modern  India,  24 ;  of  Prakrit,  27 

Dialogues  in  Rigveda,  1 19 

Dice,  128,  169 

Didactic  hymns,  127-129 

Dignaga,  324 

Dinakara  Micra,  328 

Dio  Chrysostomos,  414 

Dioskouroi,  84 

Directorium  humance  vitce,  417 

Diseases,  196 

Distillers,  165 

Doab,  27,  174 

Dogmatic  textbooks,  205 

Dogs  of  Yama,  117 

Drahyayana,  his  Crauta  Sutra,  245 

Drama,  arrangement  of,  351-352 ; 
character  of,  348-350  ;  classes  of, 
368  ;  dialects  in,  23 ;  Greek,  350, 
414,  415,  416;  origin  of,  346-347* 

Draupadl,  episode  of,  295 

Dravidian  dialects,  28 

Dress,  164 



Drishadvati,  141,  142,  155,  174,  210 

Dropsy,  Jj,  207 

Druhyus,  153,  154 

Drum  deified,  1 1 2,  200 

Dual  deities,  69,  104,  194 

Duhsha^nta.  216,  354 

Dwarf  (Vishnu\  81,  302 

Dya  Dviveda,  378 

Dyaus,  68,  74,  81,  93 

D.ydv  dprithivl,  104 

Eagle,  78,  99 

East  India  House,  5 

Eastward  migration,  214 

Eclecticism,  405 

Eclipse,  114,  325 

Eggeling,  Professor,   212,   431,  432, 

433.  434,  437 

Elephant,  148 

Elizabethan  drama,  350 

Empedocles,  421,  422 

Encyclopaedia     of    Indo- Aryan   Re- 
search, 5,  6,  428 

Enigmas,  131 

Epics,  88,  281,  414 

Epigraphia  lndica,  14 

Epigraphy,  importance  of,  14,  15 

Ethical  poetry,  377~384 

Etymology,  264 

Eudemos,  410 

Eukratides,  412 

Euthydemos,  412 

Evolution,  136,  137 

Exaggeration,  278 

Ezour  Vedam,  I 

Fables,  style  of,  368 
Ea  Hian,  13 
Faust,  416,  417 
Fee,  sacrificial,  149 
Eergusson,  James,  323 
Fetters  of  Varuna,  76,  207 
Filter  of  sheep'u  wool,  97 
Fire-sticks,  8,  95,  146 

Fish,  143,  216,  295 

Five  Tribes,  153,  155 

Fleet,  Mr.  J.  F.,  319,  322,  323 

Flood,  legend  of,  216,  294 

Food,  164,  165 

Foreign  visitors  of  India,  13 

Forest  nymph,  III 

Franke,  Professor  O.,  432 

Frog-hymn,  121,  122 

Funeral  hymns,  116,  1 18,  124-127 

Funeral  rites,  256-257 

Future  life,  1 1 5 

Gambler's  lament,  127-128 
Gambling,  168 
Ganapdtha,  431 
Ganaratna-mahodadhi,  431 
Gdnas,  171 
Gandarewa,  108 
Gandhara,  15,  413 
Gandharas,  153,  213,  408,  409 
Gandharis,  153,  156,  195 
Gandharva,    107,   108  ;  Gandharvas 

Ganeca,  251 
Ganges,   9,    24,    93,    142,    156,    157, 

174,     176,     295,     316,    410,    411, 

Gargya,  268 
Gatha  dialect,  26 
Gdthas,  191,  203,  208 
Gauda  style,  303 
Gaudapada,  241-243,  393 
Gaurjarl  dialect,  27 
Gautama's  Dharma  Castra,  260-261 
Gautamas,  215 
Gdyatrl,  56,  68,  79 
Generation,  reciprocal,  132 
Geographical  data  in  RJgveda,  139- 

Geometry,  Greek  and   Indian,  424- 

Ghanapdtha,  51 
Ghatakarpara,  339 



Girnar,  15,  321 
Gltagovinda,  344,  347 
Gnostics,  423,  424 
Goat,  sacrificial,  125 
Goats  of  Pushan,  80 
Gobhila  Sutra,  250 
Goblins,  97 
Goddesses,  103,  104 
Gods,    character  of,   72,   73 ;    equip- 
ment of,  72  ;  groups  of,  105,  106  ; 

number  of,  73,  74 
Goethe,  3,  354,  416 
Gold,  151 

GomatI  (Gomal),  140 
Gopatha  Brdhmana,   195,    203,  217- 

Gotama,  405 
Gotama  Rahugana,  214 
Govindaraja,  429 
Graeco-Bactrian  kings,  412,  415 
Graeco-Indian  period,  412 
Grammar,  39,  50,  264,  267,  26S,  430- 

Grammarians,  influence  of,  21 
Grantha  (book),  19 
Great  Bear,  109 
Greeks,  5,  6,  7,  10,  II,   13,    14,  286, 

307,  308,  325  ;  in  India,  409-412, 

415,  416 
Grihya  ritual,  251-257 
Grihya   Sutras,    37,    185,    1S9,   192- 

193,  249-251 
Gujarat,  19,  147,   173,  175,  411,  412, 

Guradhya,  318,  376 
Gupta  era,  320 
Guptas,  323,  413 

Hala,  344 
Halayudha,  433 
Hamilton,  Alexander,  3,  4 
llanuman-ndtaka,  366 
Hanumat,  312 
Haoma,  68,  99,  100 

Haravijaya,  330 

Haricchandra,  207,  20S 

Haridas,  399 

Harishena,  320,  321,  324 

Harivam^a,  282,  283,  287,  288,  294, 
299,  300,  301 

Harshacharita,  318,  332,  334,  362 

Harshavardhana,  318,  361,  413 

Hartmann,  E.  von,  424 

Hastings,  Warren,  2 

Hathayoga,  398 

Heaven,  116 

Heaven  and  earth,  104,  106,  132 

Heavens  and  hells,  390 

Heine,  Heinrich,  344,  427 

Heliokles,  412 

Hells,  117 

Hemachandra,  432,  433 

Hemadri,  257,  430 

Henotheism,  71 

Herbs  and  charms,  196 

Herder,  3 

Hero  (geometrician),  424 

Herodotus,  408,  409 

Himalaya,  9,  18,  23,  24,  141,  144, 
145,  148,  410 

Hindi  dialect,  17,  27 

Hindu,  95,  141 

Hindu  Kush,  139. 

Hindustan,  141 

Hiouen  Thsang,  13,  18,  26,  413 

Hippokrates,  426 

Hiranyagarbha,  132,  135,  137 

Hiranyakecin,  259  ;  his  Crauta  Su- 
tra, 246  ;  his  Grihya  Sutra,  250  ; 
school  of,  176 

History,  430  ;  lack  of,  io,  1 1 

Uitopade^a,  3,  373~374,  378,  380, 
381,  382 

Holtzmann,  Prof.  Adolf,  287 

Homer,  414 

Homeric  age,  12;  Greek,  20 

Hopkins,  Professor,  145,  428 

Uorcqdstra,  425,  435 



Horse,  109,  149;  sacrifice,  109,  150, 

House  of  clay,  77,  125 
Hunas,  323 
Hunting,  166 
Hymn  of  Man,  132,  133 

I  TSING,   13,  34O 

I<*a  Upanishad,  238 

Icana  (Civa),  178,  206 

Icvara  Krishna,  393 

Identifications  of  gods,  70 

Ikshvaku,  157,  230,  305,  311 

Iliad,  414 

Images  of  gods,  72,  210 

Immortality,    acquired,    71,  98,  99; 

relative,  71. 
Incantations,  121 
India  of  Alberuni,  418 
Indices,  Vedic,  39,  274 
Indika  of  Megasthenes,  411 
Indische  Spriiche,  379 
Indo-European  period,  104,  126,  185, 

Indo- Iranian  period,  43,  87,  100,  no, 

118,  170,  253,  263 

Indra,   74,  84-87,   99,  105,  108,  114, 

119,  152,  153,  172,  183,  411;  a 
warrior,  86,  96 ;  and  Maruts,  90  ; 
and  Varuna,  75,  88,  119;  his 
heaven,  107,  296 

Indrani,  1 19 

Indus,  9,  24,  140,  141,  142,  143,  147, 

151,     155,     174,    409,    410,    411, 

Industries,  167 
Initiation,  rite  of,  252-253 
Ink,  19 
Inscriptions,  14  ;  importance  of,  319  ; 

style  of,  321 
Interpretation,  Vedic,  59-64 
Intoxication,  87,  99 
IravatI  (Ravi),  140 
Iron,  151  ;  leg  of  Vicpala,  84 

Irrigation,  166 
Itihdxa,  191,  281 

Jacobi,  Professor,  12,  304,  307,  312, 

Jagatl  metre,  57 
Jaimini,  399 

JaiminJya  Brahmana,  203 
Jaiminlya-nyaya-mala-vistara,  400 
Jaiminlyas,  209 
Jain  inscriptions,  26 
Jainism,  25,  386,  390,  395,  396 
Janaka,  214,  216,  223 
Janamejaya,  213,  216 
Jatalcas,    306-307,     369,    376,    377, 

Jatdpatha,  51 
Javanese  translation  of  Mahdbhdrata, 

Jayadeva,  344,  345 
Jayaditya,  432 
Jester,  350,  363,  416 
Jimutavahana,  430 
Jina,  395 

Jolly,  Professor  J.,  428 
John  of  Capua,  418 
John  of  Damascus,  419 
Jones,  Sir  W.,  3,  358 
Jumna,  141,  152,  174 
Jupiter,  68,  102 
Jyotisha,  264 

Ka  (a  god),  101 

Kabul  (river),  141,  144,  152 

Kabulistan,  Eastern,  141,  143 

Kaci  (Benares),  222 

Kacikd  Vritti,  432 

Kadambari,  332 

Kaiyata,  431 

Kala,  200 

Kalacoka,  308 

Kalapas,  175 

Kalhana,  430 

Kalidasa,    108,   216,    301,   318,   320, 



321,  330,  33i,  335.  337,  342,  353, 
415,  416  ;  date  of,  10,  324-325 

Kalllag  and  Damnaf/,  370,  417 

Kalilah  and  Dimnah,  370,  417,  419 

Kalpa,  264 

Kalpa  Sutras,  244 

Kama,  101,  200,  415 ;  his  arrows, 
101,  198 

Kdmaduh,  no 

Kamandaka,  374 

Kamsavadha,  347 

Kanada,  403,  404 

Kanishka,  319,  322,  426,  436 

Kant,  221 

Kan va  school,  177,  212 

Kanvas,  42,  154 

Kapila,  390,  393 

Kapilavastu,  13,  215,  393 

Kapixhthala-Katha-Samhitd,  1 76 

Kapishthalas,  175,  215 

Karana,  435 

Kdrikds,  (ritual)   271,  (grammatical) 

Karma,  224,  388 
Karmapradlpa,  270 
Kashmir,  144, 175,  186,  412,  413,  430, 

Kashmiri  dialect,  27 
Katantra,  432 

Katha  school,  175,  176,  212,  215 
Kdthaka  section  of  Taittirlya  Brali- 

mana,  212 
Kdthaka  Samhitd,   54  n.,   176,   285  ; 

Upanishad,  212,  220,  225,  232-233; 

Sutra,  251 
Kathdsaritsdgara,     362,     376,     377> 

Kathenotheism,  71 
Katlya  Sutra,  250 
Katyayana,  23,   178,   191,  267,  273, 

274,  275,  431  ;  his  Crauta  Sutra, 

Kaugika  Sutra,  251 
Kaushitaki   Aranyaka,    209 ;    Brdh- 

mana,  203,  206,  207  ;   Upanishad, 

209,  225,  227 
Kaushitakins,  210 
Kauthumas,  173,  174 
Kautsa,  61 
Kaviraja,  331 

Kdvyddar^a,  22,  329,  330,  434 
Kdvydlamkdra,  421,  434 
Kavyalamkdra-vritti,  434 
Kdvya-prakdc(a,  434 
Kavyas,  278,  281,  310,  318  ;  age  of, 

319;    style    of,    326;   prose,    321, 

Kekayas,  213 
Kena  Upanishad,  209,  229 
Khddira  Sutra,  250 
Kharoshthl  writing,  15,  1 8 
KhUas  in  the  Rigveda,  51 
Kielhorn,  Professor,  6,  367,  431,  432 
Kings,  158;  inauguration  of,  199 
Kipling,  Mr.  Rudyard,  149 
Kirdtdrjuniya,  329 
Kosalas,  213,  214,  215 
Kramapdtha,  51,  209 
Krishna,  157,  165,  301-302,405,  411, 

Krishna  Migra,  366 
Krivis,  155,  157 
Kriyayoga,  398 
Krumu  (Kurum),  140 
Kshapanaka,  324 

Kshemendra  Vyasadasa,  290,  376-377 
Kshemigvara,  366 
Ktesias,  409 
Kubha  (Kabul),  140 
Kugikas,  1 55 
Kuhn,  Adalbert,  6,  186 
Kulluka,  428,  429 
Kumdra-sambhava,  326,  328 
Kumarila,  260,  261,   262,   271,   289, 

Kuntdpa  hymns,  188 
Kurukshetra,  155,  174,  210 
Kuru-Panchalas,  174,  207,  213,  214 



Kurus,  156,  157,  175,  216,  283,  285 
Kushanas,  413 
Kusumdnjali,  405 

La  Fontaine,  418 

Laghujdtaka,  435 

Laghu-Jcaumudl,  432 

Lalitavistara,  26 

Language  of  the  Brahman  as,  203  ;  of 

the    Aranyakas    and    Upanishads, 

Lassen,  Prof.  Christian,  311 
Latyayana,    his   Crauta   Sutra,    191, 

Law-books,  428-430 
Legends  in  Brahmanas,  207 
Levi,  Sylvain,  433 
Lexicography,  433 
Libraries,  Sanskrit,  20 
Light  of  Asia,  427 
Lightning,  74,  85,  90,  96,  99,   328, 

336  ;    deities,     88-89  ;    compared 

with  laughter,  75,  89 
Lingdnuc(dmna,  432 
Lion,  147,  148 
Liquor,   165 
Love,  god  of,  101 
Love-story,     oldest     Indo-European, 

Lullaby,  120 

Lunar  mansions,  99,  195,  425 
Lute,  169 
Lyrics  in  drama,  350 

Macaka,  his  Crauta  Sutra,  245 

Madhava,  275,  276,  400,  406,  407 

Madhyadeca,  160,  214 

Madhyamdinas,  177,  212 

Magadha,  24,  155 

Magadhas,  156,  195 

Magsdhl  dialect,  27 

Magha,  329 

Magic,  97 

Magical  hymns,  1 20 

Mahdbhdrata,  153,  154,  156,  157,  165, 
175,  193,  216,  278,  281,282-298, 
299,  300,  301,  303,  309,  325,  354, 
367.  378,  380,  383,  39^,  394,  396, 
398 ;  its  date,  287 ;  its  episodes, 
294-298,  414  ;  its  main  story,  291- 
294 ;  its  nucleus,  284,  285 ;  its 
recensions,  283  ;  recited  now,  288  ; 
a  smriti,  284,  287,  288,  289 

Malidbhdshya,  189,  322,  347,  414,  431 va,  178,  182,  206 

Mahakavyas,  330 

Mahdndrdyana  Upanishad,  211 

Maharashtri  dialect,  27 

Maltdvlracharita,  364 

Mahavrishas,  195 

Mahecvara,  433 

Maitrdyana  UpanisUad,  212,  230, 

Maitrdyanl  Samhitd,  54  n.,  176,  180, 
183,  212 

Maitrayaniyas,  175,  215 

Maitreyi,  222 

Mdlatlmddhava,  363 

Malava  era,  320,  323 

Mdlavikdgnimitra,  353,  354,  360 

Malayalam,  28 

Mallinatha,  324,  327,  328,  330 

Mammata,  434 

Mdnava  Qrauta  Sutra,  246  ;  Dharma 
Sutra,  262,  428 ;  Grihya  Sutra, 
250,  429  ;  Dharma^dstra,  428 

Mandukas,  52 

Mandukeyas,  50,  52 

Mandukya,  241 

Man-eating  tiger,  148 

Manes,  125,  169 

Manlcha-ko$a,  433 

Manoravasarpana,  144 

Mantra  and  Brahma na,  180 

Manira-brdhmana,  250 

Mantrapdtha,  250 

Mantras,  177-180,  187 

Manu,  108,  156,  175,  216,  261,  262, 



295»  299>  394,  398  5  code  of,  3,  193, 
428  ;  ship  of,  144  ;  and  fish,  300 
Manyu,  101 
Mara,  225 

MarathI  dialect,  17,  27 
Marriage  ritual,  162,  254,  263-264 
Maruts,  85,  87-90,  105 
Mashi  (ink),  19 
Matari^van,  70,  88,  108 
Materialists,  405-407 
Mathava,  214,  215 
Mathematics,  434-435 
Mathura,  26,  27,  175,  322,  323,  41 1 
Matsya  (fish),  143,  300 
Matsyas,  154,  157,  175 
Maues  (Moa),  412 
Maury  a  dynasty,  410 
Max  Muller,  Professor,  6,    12,    276, 

322,  323 
Mechanical  formulas,  183 
Medhatithi,  429 

Medicine,  Greek  and  Indian,  426- 
427  ;  Indian,  435-436 ;  in  the 
Atharvaveda,  196 

Megasthenes,  13,  148,  158,  286,  308, 
411,  416 

Meghaduta,  324,  335-336 

Menander,  412  (king),  416  (poet) 

Metre,  267  ;  in  drama,  349  ;  Vedic, 
55  ;  post-Vedic,  279,  281 

Milinda,  412 

Milk  and  soma,  98 

Mlmamsa  system,  399-400,  407 

Mirage,  108,  401 

Mitdkshard,  424 

Mithila,  214 

Mithra,  68 

Mitra,  68,  78 

Mitra-Varuna,  1 04 

Mixed  castes,  184 

Moabite  stone,  16 

Mohamudgara,  378 

Monkey,  1 1 9,  148 

Monotheistic  tendency,  70,  96 

Moon  (Soma),  100 

Moral  philosophy,  384 

Morality,  163  ;  divine,  73 

Mountains,  1 14 

Mricchakatikd,  360-361,  416 

Mudrd,  399 

Mudrd-rdkshasa,  365,  378 

Mugdha-bodha,  432 

Muhammadan  conquest,  9,  13,  18,  26, 

413.  430 
Muhammadans,  7 
Mujavat,  144 
Mujavats,  153,  156,  195 
Mundaka  Upanishad,  222,  240 
Music,  169,  436-437 
Musicians,  170 
Mutiny,  Indian,  no 
Mythology  of  Rigveda,  6"]  ;  of  Yajur- 

veda,  181 

Nachiketas,  story  of,  212,  225,  232 

Ndgdnanda,  362 

Ndgarl,  17 

Nagas,  in 

Nagojibhatta,  431 

Naigeya  school,  174 

Naishadhlya,  330 

Nala,  episode  of,  296-298 

Nalodaya,  330,  345 

Narada,  208 

Ndrada-smriti,  429 

Narmada,  (Nerbudda),  144,  176,  177, 

Ndsatyau,  61 
Nasik,  26,  175 
Natha,  327 
Nature  in  the  drama,  354  ;  in  lyric 

poetry,  343 
Ndtya-qdstra,  433 
Naubandhana,  144 
Navaprabhramcana,  144 
Navasdhasdnka-charita,  331 
Navigation,  143,  167 
Nearchos,  19 



Neo-Platonists,  422,  423 

Niddna  Sutra,  273 

JVigama-pariqishta,  275 

Nighantu-qesha,  433 

Nilakantha,  283,  290 

Nirukta  of  Yaska,  269-270,  273,  281 

Nirvana,  395 

Nishka,  167 

Niti$ataka,  378 

Nitiqastra,  374 

Nltimanjarl,  378 

Nitisara,  374 

North,  Sir  Thomas,  418 

Northern  Buddhists,  26 

Nyaya  system,  403-405 

Nydya-sutra,  405 

Oldenberg,  Professor,  204 

One  Being,  131 

Oral  tradition,   122  ;  its  importance 

in  India,  16 
Ornaments,  164 
Orthodoxy,  386 
Oshadhi,  in 
Owl,  117 

Pad  a  text,  50,  51,  52 

Pada  (metrical  unit),  55 

Padapdtha,  51,  209 

Paddhatis,  271 

Padmagupta,  331 

Padmapurdna,  295 

Paippalada  recension  of  Atharvaveda, 

Pahlavas,  286 
Pali,  25  ;    literature,  280,   283,   295, 

3°7>  379  J  manuscript,  18 
Palm-leaf  MSS.,  18 
Panchacikha,  393 
Panchalas,  156,  157,  175,  285 
Pancharatras,  402 
Pancha-siddhdntikd,  435 
Panchatantra,     368-373,    377,    378, 

381,  382,  384,  419 

Panchavimqa  Brahmana,  203,  2IO 

Pandus,  216,  283 

Panegyrics,  127 

Panini,  17,  22,  36,  39,  265,  268,  269, 

279,  309,  3IO.  326,  407,  430»  431, 

Panis,  113,  119,  346 
Panjab,  9,  139,   140,   143,   145,   150, 

160,  175,  410,  415 
Panjabi  dialect,  27 
Pantheism,  7c,  133,  221 
Paper  MSS.,  18 
Paragara,  262 
Pardqara-smriti,  429 
Paradox,  132 

Pdraskara  Grihya  Sutra,  250,  429 
Parchment,  19 
Paribhashendu-gekhara,  431 
Parifishtas,  186,  270,  274,  275 
Parjanya,  74,  91,  92 
Parrots,  150 
Parsis  and  Haoma,  146 
ParushnI  (Ravi),  140,  154,  155 
Pataliputra  (Patna),    13,    308,    410, 

Patanjali,  22,  23,  175,  189,  265,  308, 

396,  397,  400,  431 
Path  of  the  fathers  and  of  the  gods, 

Pauravas,  410 
Pavamana  hymns,  43 
Peahens,  150 
Peepul  tree,  146 
PehlevI,  369,  377,  417 
Persians,  7 

Personification,  67,  69 
Pessimism,  n,  230,  392,  424 
Phallus  worship,  153 
Philosophical  poems,  131-138 
Philosophy,  Greek  and  Indian,  421- 

Philostratus,  415 
Phit-Sutras,  432 
Phonetics,  50,  264-265 



Pigachas,  114 

Pigeon,  117 

Pilpay,  fables  of,  417,  418 

Pingala,  267 

Pippalada,  240 

Pischel,  Professor,  361,  432,  434 

Pitriydna,  224,  225 

Plants  deified,  1 1 1 

Plays  in  inscriptions,  367 

Plotinus,  423 

Plough  deified,  1 12 

Poetical  skill  in  Rigveda,  66 

Poetics,  433-434 

Political  organisation,  158 

Popular  spells,  185 

Porphyry,  423 

Porus,  410 

Prabodha-chandrodaya,  366,  367 

Praqna  [fpanishad,  240 

Pragdtha  metres,  58 

Prajapati,  77,  101,  102,  132,  133,  136, 

137,  181 
Prakrit,  22,  23,  25,  310,  322  ;  accent, 

53  ;  dialects,  27 ;  in  plays,  27,  348, 

350;  in  lyrics,  344 
Prdkrita-prakdqa,  432 
Prakriti,  138,  391 
Prakriyd-kaumudl,  432 
Prana,  200 
Praticakhyas,  38,  46,  50,  51,  188,  265, 

Praudha  Brdhmana,  210 
Pravarddhydya,  275 
Prayogas,  271 
Prigni,  89,  109 

Priest,  domestic,  159,  193,  195 
Priesthood,  34,  159,  160 
Prithivi,  74,  93,  103 
Prometheus,  Indian,  108 
Prose,  187,  202,  203,  207,  278  ;  oldest, 

32  ;  in  drama,  350 
Psychology,  392,  404 
Ptolemy  II.,  415 
Punishment,  future,  116 

Purdna,  191,  281 

Puranas,  52,  138,  194,  281,299-302 

325,  388,  394,  395,  43° 
Purohita,  193,  195 
Purukutsa,  154 
Pururavas,  107,  119,  216,  346 
Purus,  153,  154,  156,  157    158 
Purusha,  132,  133,  137,  222 
Purusha  hjmn,  132,  190 
Purushottamadeva,  433 
Pushan,  79-80,  125,  164 
Pythagoras,  422 

Rdghavapdndaviya,  33 1 

Raghuvamqa,  30 1,  325,    26, 

Rahu,  114 

Rain,  90 

Rain-cloud,  91,  92 

Rain-god,  91 

Rajagekhara,  366 

Rdjatarangini,  430 

Rajayoga,  398 

Rakshases,  114 

Raksliohan  (Agni),  97 

Ram  Charit  Manas,  317 

Rama,  312 ;  episode  of,  295,  301, 

Ramachandra,  432 

Ramananda,  316 

Ramanuja,  316,  402 

Rdmdyana,  22,  133,  175,  216,  230, 
281,  288,  295,  302-317,  325,  327, 
414  ;  allegorical  theory  about,  31 1  ; 
date  of,  306-310  ;  episodes  of,  316  ; 
first  Kavya,  306,  31 1  ;  language  of, 
309-310  ;  main  story  of,  313-315  ; 
origin  of,  304-305  ;  popularity  of, 
317  ;  recensions  of,  303  ;  two  parts 
of,  311;  Vishnuite  redaction  of, 

Ramdyana-champu,  304 

Rdmdyana-kathdsdra-rnanjari,  303 

Ranayanlyas,  173 

Ratnakara,  330 



Ratndvall,  361-362 

Ratrl,  103,  104 

Havana,  312 

Rdvanavadha,  331 

Renaissance  theory,  323 

Rhazes,  medical  writer,  427 

Rhinoplasty,  427 

Rhyme,  330,  345 

Ribhus,  106,  107 

Rice,  145 

Rich,  30 

Ricyacringa,  legend  of,  295 

Riddles,  130-131 

Riding,  150,  166 

Rigveda,  5,  16,  30  ;  age  of,  12,  46,  47; 
arrangement  of,  40,  41  ;  character 
of,  65  ;  chronological  strata  in,  45, 
46  ;  nucleus  of,  41  ;  origin  of,  40  ; 
recension  of,  53  ;  text  of,  47,  48  ; 
various  readings  in  other  Vedas, 
46  ;  verses  not  analysed  in  Pada 
text,  51  n. ;  family  books,  41; 
Books  I.  and  VIII.,  42  ;  Book  IX., 
42-43.  97  ;  Book  X.,  43-44 

Rigveda  Prdticdkhya,  5 1 

Rigvidhdna,  274 

Riksha  ("star  "  and  "  bear  "),  109 

Rishis,  seven,  109 

Rita,  67,  75 

Ritual,  31  ;  deities,  65;  text-books, 

Ritusamhdra,  3,  337-339 

Rivers  deified,  92,  93 

Roger,  Abraham,  1 

Rohita,  200,  207 

Romaka-siddhdnta,  325,  425 

Romans,  11 

Rosen,  F.,  4 

Roth,  Rudolf  von,  5,  60,  6^,  64,  102, 
117,  141,  186 

Riickert,  345 

Rudra,  72,  74,  89,91,  105,  164,  178, 

Rudrabhata,  434 

Rudras,  105 
Rudrata,  421,  434 

Sacerdotalism,  183 

Sacraments,  251 

Sacred  cord,  253 

Sacrifice,  159,  407;  power  of,  73,  183  ; 
growing  importance  of,  182* 

Sacrificial  fee,  159;  horse,  125;  im- 
plements, 112;  post,  112 

Sadananda  Yogindra,  402 

Sadanira  (river),  214 

Sadukti-karndmrita,  379 

Sdhitya-darpana,  348,  434 

Saketa,  308 

Salt,  150 

Salvas,  213 

Salvation,  doctrine  of,  389,  406 

Sdmaveda,  30,  170,  1 71-174;  accent 
of,  54*1. ;  various  readings  of,  173 

Sdmavidhdna  Brdhmana,  21 1 

Samhitd,  29  ;  text,  47,  48,  49,  50 

Samhitd-pdtha,  209 

Samhitopanishad,  211 

Sandhi,  21,  48 

Sankhya  system,  133,  137,  215,  230, 
231.  234,  390-395,  404,  405,  407, 
422,  423,  424 

Sankhya -kdrikd,  393 

Sdnkhya-prarachana,  393,  396 

Sankhya  Sutras,  393,  396 

Sanskrit,  21  ;  classical,  4  ;  meaning 
of,  22  ;  as  a  spoken  language,  8, 
22-23  >  Buddhist  texts,  26 ;  in 
Germany,  4 

Sanskrit  dictionary,  5 ;  epic,  309-3 10 ; 
inscriptions,  26 ;  manuscripts,  8, 
18,  19,  20;  period,  9,  10,  39; 
studies,  2,  3,  4 

Sanskrit  literature,  character  of,  277- 
280 ;  continuity  of,  7,  8,  25  ;  dis- 
covery of,  1-2  ;  defects  of,  10 ; 
extent  of,  5  ;  importance  of,  6,  7, 
10  ;  originality  of,  7  ;  periods  of,  8 



Saptaqataka,  344 

SarasvatI,    93,    103,    119,    125,    140, 

141,  145,  155,  174,  210,  214 
Sarvadarqana-samgraha,  406,  407 
Sarvajna  Narayana,  291 
Sarvdnukramani,  271-272 
Sat,  136 

Savitri,  8,  71,  78-79,  101,  164 
Savitri  stanza,  19,  209,  232 
Savitri,  episode  of,  253-255,  296 
Sayana,   59,    61,  62,    174,   186,  259, 

270,  275-276,  378,  406 
Schiller,  Friedrich,  335 
Schlegel,  Friedrich,  4 
Schopenhauer,  Arthur,  424 
Schroeder,  Professor  L.  v.,  1 76 
Scythians,  7,  322,  323,  412 
Sea,  68,  77,  143,  144 
Second  birth,  253 
Sectarian  systems,  407 
Secular  hymns,  123 
Seleucus,  411,  415 
Semitic  writing,  16 
Sententious  tone,  368 
Serapion,  427 
Serpent,        no;       worship,       III, 

Setubandha,  331 
Shadgurucishya,  271,  272 
Shadvimga  Brdhmana,  210 
Shakespeare,  350,  364,  365,  416 
Shaving,  164 
Siddhdnta-giromani,  435 
Siddhdnta-kaumudl,  432 
Siddhantas,  426,  434 
Silver,  151,  152 
Simha,  147 

Simhdsana-dvdtrimqikd,  375 
Sindhi  dialect,  27 
Sindhu,  93,  140,  143,  144 
Singers,  159 
Singing,  170 
Singhalese,  25 
Slta,  216,  305,  312 

Skanda  Purdna,  295 

Skylax,  409 

Slaves,  152 

Smile,  whiteness  of,  75 

Smriti,  35,  37,  193,  205 

Solar  deities,  77-81 

Solar  race,  157 

Solstice,  winter,  106 

Soma,  29,  30,  65,  68,  71,  74,  87,  92, 

97-100,    101,  123,  144,  145,  146, 

164,  165,  192,  205,  248 
Somadeva,  376 
Sons,  importance  of,  36,  208 
Sorcery,  185,  190,  191 
Soul,  19,  115,  222,  390,  391,  395,  404, 

Southern  Buddhism,  25 
Sphuta,  407 

Srinjayas,  155,  157,  213 
Star,  morning  and  evening,  85 
Stein,  Dr.  M.  A.,  430 
Stevenson,  missionary,  173 
Stevenson,  Mr.  R.  L.,  399 
Stewart,  Dugald,  2 
Stilus,  19 
Strabo,  151 
Strophic  metre,  158 
Studentship,  253 
Style  of  Vedic  poetry,  65 
Subandhu,  288,  321,  332,  379 
Subtilty,  fondness  for,  65 
Sugruta,  436 
Suqruta-samhitd,  436 
Sudas,  154,  155,  159,  169 
Sun,  78,  123,  134 
Suparnddhydya,  204 
Sura,  113 
Surd,  165 
Surya,  77,  78,  82 
Stirya,  84,  1 23,  124 
Surya-siddhdnta,  434 
Sutlej,  141,  145,  147,  174 
Sutras,  35,  36,  37,  38,  49j  IOI,  III 



169,    189,   191,    205,    208;    subsi- 
diary, 38-39 

Suttapitaka,  369 

Suvastu  (Swat),  140 

Svarbhanu, 114 

Svarita  accent,  54 

Swan,  wild,  150 

Syllogism,  404 

Taittiriya  Aranyaka,  i88,J2li  ;  Brdh- 

mana,    53,    180,    191,    203,    211  ; 

Samhita,   176,  177,   179,   190,   196, 

211  ;   Upanishad,  211 
Taittiriyas,  176 
Takshacila,  409 
Talavakdra  Upanishad,  229 
Talavakiiras,  209 
Tamil,  28 
Tandins,  209 
Tandy  a  Brdhmana,  210 
Tantravdrttika,  289,  400 
Telugu,  18,  28 
Thales,  422 
Theosophy,  186 
Thibaut,  Dr.,  325,  434,  435 
Three  constituents   of   matter,   231, 

391  ;  fires,  95  ;  strides  of  Vishnu, 

80  ;  Vedas,  133  ;  worlds,  68 
Thunder,  85 
Tiger,  147,  148 
Towns,  158 
Trade,  167,  168 
Transmigration,   115,  223,  224,  225, 

277-278,  383.  387-389,  406,  422 
Trasadasyu,  154 
Trayl  vidyd,  30,  191 
Tree,  celestial,  116;  deified,  III 
Tribes,  Aryan,  152-158 
Trikdnda-cesha,  433 
Trikuta,  144 
Trinity,  earliest  Vedic,  95  ;  Hindu, 

88,  95,  102,  231,  277,  286,  301 
Trishtubh  metre,  57,  68 
Trita  Aptya,  88 

Tritsus,  154,  155,  156,  157,  158,  159 

Tulsl  Das,  317 

Turvacas,  153,  154,  155,  156,  157 

Tvashtri,  106 

Twins,  primeval,  118 

Ucchishta,  201 

Ucinaras,  155,  157 

Uddtta  accent,  54 

Udayanacharya,  405 

Udgdtri  priest,  33 

Ujjayini,  415,  421,  424 

Ujjvaladatta,  431 

Unddi-sutra,  431 

Unddigana-sutra,  432 

Upanishad  Brdhmana,  209 

Upanishads,  34,  50,  99,  133,  178,  182, 

189,  191,  202,  204,  208,  218-243, 

385  ;  chronology  of,  226 
Urvagl,  107,  108,  1 19,  216,  346,  352 
Ushabhadata,  322 
Ushas,  81-83,  84,  103,  145 
Uttarardmacharita,  352,  364-365 

Vach,  93 

Vachaspati  Micra,  393 

Vagbhata,  436 

Vaicall,  309 

Vaigeshika  system,  403-405 

Vaicya,  133 

Vaidarbha  style,  303 

Vaijayantl,  433 

Vaikhdnasa     Qrauta     Sutra,     246  ; 

Dharma  Sutra,  262  ;  Grihya  Sutra, 

Vairdgya-qataka,  378 
Vaishnava  Bharma-gdstra,  428 
Vaitana    (jrauta    Sutra,    217,    218, 

Vdjasaneya  Sutra,  250 
Vdjasaneyi   Samhita,    IOI,    I77~i79» 

181,  184 
Vfijasaneyins,  176,  21 5 
Vakyapadlya,  431 



Vala,  102,  114 

Vdlakhilya  hymns,  52,  127 

Vallabhadeva,  379 

Valmiki,    295,    305,    306,    310,   316, 

317,  327 
Vamana,  432  (gram.),  434  (rhetorician) 
Vamca  Brdhmana,  2 1 1 
Varadaraja,  432 

Varaha  Mihira,  318,  324,  425,  435 
Vararuchi,  324 
Vardhamana,  431 
Varna,  86 
Vdrttikas,  431 
Varuna,  70,  75,  76,  77,  78,  102,  105, 

113,  119,  125,  145,  169,  201,  207 
Vasishtha,  155,  159,  160 
Vasishtha  Dharmacdstra,  260-261 
Vasishthas,  164 
Vdsavadattd,  332 
Vashkalas,  52 
Vasubandhu,  325 
Vasus,  105 
Vata,  90,  91 
Vatsabhatti,  320 
Vayu,  90,  91,  164 
Veda,  29 
Vedas  and  Brahmanas,  33  ;  character 

of,  29-30 ;  study  of,  4,  5  ;   learnt 

by  heart,  8 
Vedangas,  264-267 
Vedanta,  34,  71,  133,  204,  221,  226, 

230,  238,  240,  241,  400-402,  405, 

407,  421 
Veddnta-sdra,  241 
Vedic,  29  ;  language,  20  ;  literature, 

5,    12;    period,    8,    II,    29;    and 

Sanskrit,  20 
Venlsamhdra,  365-366 
Vernacular  languages,  24 ;  words  in 

Vedic,  24 
Vetdlapanchavimcati,  375 
Vibhidaka  tree,  128 
Vicakhadatta,  365 
Vicpala,  myth  of,  84 

Vicvakarman,  132,  134 

Vicvamitra,  154,  155 

Vicvanatha  Kaviraja,  434 

Vicvaprakd^a,  433 

Vigvedevas,  106 

Vidarbha  style,  303,  320,  321 

Videgha,  214,  215 

Videha,  213,  214,  215 

Vidhdna,  192 

Vijayanagara,  59,  275-276 

Vijnana-bhikshu,  394 

Vijnanegvara,  429 

Vikram  a